Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dealing with IRS scam calls

A lot of Americans are getting phone calls from scammer pretending to be IRS/ FBI officials. They use scaring tactics to rob money. Futile effort of American accent does not hide the Indian origin of these callers.  This is how I dealt with one of them.
Caller (Pretending be an American):- My name is Alex. I am calling from FBI. Can I speak with Amreett Wadhwaaa?
Me:- Oh FBI. Who do you want to speak with?
Caller: (Trying hard with fake American accent): Amreett Wadhwaa
Me:- That is me. But you are not pronouncing my name right. I am in the USA for several decades and you guys cannot pronounce my name right.
Caller: I am sorry Sir. You have to pay 4344 dollars and fifty cents to IRS. If you don’t pay today, FBI will send police to arrest you in an hour’s time.
Me: That is really bad. But you have to pronounce my name correct? How do I know it is me?
Caller: How do you pronounce your name Sir?
Me: Say Amrit.
Caller: Amreett
Me: No. Say ‘A’ correctly.
Caller: - How Sir?
Me:-‘A’ is not ‘A’ in Apple. ‘A’ is pronounced that like ‘A’ in ‘About’. Try now.
Caller (Fixing part of the name): Amreett
Me: No it is still wrong. You need to pronounce ‘I’ like in India and don’t put too much pressure on T.
Caller (Trying again): Amrit. Is that correct?
Me: It is okay now.
Caller: Okay. Mr. Amrit, you need to pay 4355 Dollars and fifty cents.
Me: Mr. Amrit. You don’t say Mr. Amrit. That is my first name.
Caller: Sorry Mr. Wadhwaaa.
Me: That is not correct pronunciation. If you don’t say my name right, I am not paying anything.
Caller: How do I say it right Sir?
Me:- Say Wadhwa
Caller: Wadhwaaaaa
Me: It is the sound of ‘W’ not ‘V’. Say it right then I will listen to the amount.
Caller (Trying best to make sound of W) : Wadhwaaaaa.
Me: It is still wrong. You are not saying ‘D’ right. You need to say ‘dh’ like ‘th’ in ‘Rather’.
By now caller decided to come of fake American accent and pronounce my name like Indians.
Caller: Mr. Wadhwa. Is that correct?
Me: Perfect. See if you try you can do it.
Caller: Mr. Wadhwa, please pay 4355 Dollars and fifty cents now otherwise I will have to send police.
Me: What is this money for?
Caller: You did not pay tax to IRS for years so they asked FBI to recover money.
Me:- Oh. That is bad. I don’t want to deal with FBI or IRS now. How much is it?
Caller:  4355 Dollars and fifty cents.
Me: If I pay, then will they stop calling me?
Caller: I promise no one will call you after you pay.
Me: How do I pay?
Caller: Tell me your credit card number
Me: Credit card. Which one?
Caller: Visa or Master Card
Me: Oh, I don’t have those. How about American Express?
Caller: That is fine. Can you read the number?
Me: Let me read it out. Do you have pen and paper handy?
Caller (Excited with his potential success): Sure
Me: This card is not good. It is expired. Do you still want the number?
Caller (Still excited): Sir, give me credit card number that is active.
Me: I don’t think I have one anymore.
Caller (Irritated): Sir, you are wasting my time now. I will send the police.
Me: Can I send you a check?
Caller (Excited again): You can give me details of the check on the phone.
Me: Sure. Let me find the checkbook. Hold?
I put the phone on the bed and listen to a song for full 2 minutes.
Me: Are you there?
Caller: Do you have the checkbook sir? Can you read the routing number first?
Me: Let me open up. Why do they write with such small letters? I need my reading glasses.
Caller: Now you need your reading glasses. Make it fast. I am not going to wait forever.
Me: Have patience Alex. I want to make sure I read correct numbers.
I put the phone on the bed and listen to another song.
Me: I found my reading glasses.
Caller: Great. Please read the numbers.
Me: Alex, there is one little problem.
Caller: What is that now? You have your glasses.
Me: The cover on the checkbook says, not to give details over the phone.
Caller: That is okay. They just write it. Everyone gives the check number. We are FBI.
Me: Okay. Let me read. Are you ready?
Caller (Very excited): Yes
Me: Oh hold on.
Caller: What now?
Me: I am coming to Washington DC tomorrow. I will come to your office and pay.
Caller (Very angry now): Sir, you to pay NOW. Give me the number otherwise I am sending police. It cannot wait till tomorrow.
Me: Can you just give me one day? I promise I will be in your office tomorrow.
Caller (Very angry): No you have to pay NOW. This is my last warning.
Me: Oh hold on. There is someone at the door.
Caller: Pay it first.
Me: It is my neighbor Robert. Do you know Robert Smith? He works in FBI and the local police. He is here. He says there is a lot of fraud. He wants to talk to you.
Caller: You BASXXX….Mother XXXX.. You are playing games with me and wasting my time. I will send police.
Me: Alex, Robert is police. Talk to him.
Caller: You Mother…”
He hung up the phone.
PS:- I am sure I am in their ‘Do Not Call List’. Alex never called me again.


Umesh Gulati said...

I think you wasted too much time with him, and at the end the caller called you 'Bastard'. I once got the from the same 'IRS' and I shut him up and hung up. I have never got any more call from the 'RS' man again. Besides, in a day we get two or three calls from people we don't know; we simply do not answer. All the same your conversation was delightful, indeed.

Rajlakshmi said...

Yeah I read about this and one of the employees from my previous company ended up paying a huge amount. It was after that incident that we came to know about this fraud. You did well :)

BK Chowla, said...

Must say you handled the situation perfectly well.

Renu said...

Lol:) this happens in US too..