Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life's Little Injustices (Take VII): We Got A Robo-Scam Call (And Lived To Tell The Tale)

From the moment that the Squawker nudged me awake, right around 9 a.m., I sensed that something was up.  However, the emergency didn't register right away, since I'd pulled a brain-melting all-nighter.  "Right, what's the problem, then?" I asked

"We just got a phone call saying, 'You're being sued by the IRS. We've tried to reach you, but this is just to let you know'...'"

Now I snapped awake. "Really?" I asked.

The Squawker frowned in my general direction. "I'm so tired of this, it's always an emergency  around here, every minute..."

"Wait a minute." Now it was my turn to crease a brow or two. "What else did they say, exactly?"

"I didn't get a live human being," Squawker replied. "It was a robo-call."

"Ah, now I think we're getting somewhere!" I grabbed the portable phone and squinted at the number. "It's got a 202 area code, which is Washington, D.C. But would Uncle Sam pay for a long-distance phone threat, when they've got toll free numbers for this stuff?"

"Yeah, fair point," Squawker agreed. "Every time they threaten us, we usually get in writing first."

"We've been paying them every month, like clockwork, while we wait for them to rule on our Offer In Compromise." I gestured at Squawker's laptop. "So I don't think we've actually done anything to get sued over. But why don't we do a reverse lookup on that phone number?"

And so, Squawker duly punched in the offending digits (202-BLA-BLAH). "Looks like some kind of online scam," Squawker reported. "Basically, people are getting these calls, saying there's warrants out for your arrest if you don't pay up right away."

"I suspected as much." I sank back down under my covers. "But next time we get such a call, don't waste your time listening to it...we'll just check it out together." (For further reference, see the Stack Exchange link below, which has some good tips and info.)

Note to scammers and bureaucrats: one thing doesn't change, whether it's a robo-call, or a real life robot is quacking away at the other end of it...you're not monarchs, as much as you'd like to think of yourselves that way. Your attempts to run roughshod over us are running thin -- and, while I'm not a betting man, I suspect the next such attempt will bring forth a torrent of harsh words (some printable in polite company, some not). Put it this way: there's a reason why we dumped all that tea in the harbor 200-odd years ago.

STOP PRESSES (UPDATE): Just when you think that dealings with public agencies can't get anymore surreal, they do....toward the end of the week, we got another phone call....but this time, the robot was live, and it had some news, which thankfully didn't sound like something out of Lost In Space ("Warning! Warning! Danger! Danger!"). Apparently, our settlement offer has been approved, and some official communique to that effect will wend its way soon here to Ramen Noodle Nation HQ.

Having lived with this monkey on our back for just over half the decade (see "Talking With The Taxman" link below for the full scoop), this development is obviously welcome, but the Squawker and I have elected to hold our breaths until we actually see the paperwork (as in: one swallow doesn't make a summer...we've learned not to praise the day until the twilight comes...and so on, and so forth). When that happens, I'll post some kind of update...till then, the devil's in the details. --The Reckoner

Links To Go (Read 'Em Before All Your
Interest & Penalties Skyrocket Again)

Ramen Noodle Nation:
Stack Exchange:
Robocall Claiming To Be IRS
Saying They Are About To Sue: Is It Legit?:

Talking With The Taxman About Poetry (Take II):
(Send Out For The Advocate):
http://ramennoodlenation.blogspot.com/2015/04/talking-with-taxman-about-poetry-take.html  (For some reason, this one's not firing up -- just cut 'n' paste the bloody thing into your browser, as I'm too tired to think of a cleverer way around the tech issue!)

The New York Times:
Tactics For Getting The IRS On The Phone:

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