This month of September has been quite a busy one for me. Juggling both my full-time and freelance work, and adjusting to autumn.
However, I can say with absolute certainty, that it’s been an even busier September for a special type of overseas scammers.
You see, in recent months, there has been an increase in the number of people that have fallen victim to a particular type of scam call. The type that comes straight from the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland – or so it seems. And for brevity, I will just refer to the Irish Tax commissioners simply as ‘Revenue’ going forward.
From what I understand, it appears these scammers make use of very clever phone-spoofing software. This makes the unknown Irish number that calls you to appear legitimate. And this fact alone is a very convincing piece in the game I call – the Irish Revenue Inspector scam.
I received scam calls from 10-digit numbers beginning with 083 and 085 prefixes. I also received calls from dodgier numbers: 084 and 088. These were much easier for me to completely ignore, as any person living in Ireland long enough knows those 2 prefixes do not exist.
Unfortunately, you cannot be prepared for everything. So I did my research on recent revenue phone scams, and the accounts of many victims are a genuine cause for concern. They will mention a tax bill you owe of about €6000, and will then tell you all criminal charges will be dropped if you pay €2000 in a few hours. As fishy as that sounds already, these scammers can be pretty convincing. So all a good scam needs is for the victim to have a moment of weakness, and they might just be swallowed whole.
That’s the number of times I’ve gotten Irish revenue scam calls this month alone. As a freelance copywriter, I am always alert for incoming calls. Even though it’s no secret amongst my friends that I hate picking up calls from unknown numbers.
But I gotta stay alert for any new business, right?
Anyway, the process was the same. A number very similar to an Irish 10-digit number rings you. And immediately an automated voice on the other end tells you your social security number has been identified in an ongoing tax fraud investigation. It’s a lazy voicemail to be honest, and I never once bothered to listen through to the end before hanging up.
this time around I had time on my hands. And I thought it would be fun to play around with the revenue call scammers too – even if just to waste a little bit of their time. As I listened to the automated message, I remembered some random YouTube videos I’d watched before. It was of some guy who baits and exposes scammers in real-time.
So after telling me my social security number had been identified as fraud, I was now given the option (among others) to speak to an agent. I chose to speak to an agent,
and unsurprisingly, his accent was not Irish.
So in a very low, dead tone, almost as calm as Bryan Mills in the Taken movies, I said, ‘Do not ever call my number again. Because if you do, I will find you , and I will fuck you up.’
Then a ‘click’.
He’d hung up, and my face gave birth to a huge smile. Satisfied with me, I got up to pour myself a glass of red wine. But I forgot I was broke, so I ended up having some Mi Wadi concentrated juice to ease my pain instead. Regardless, I still celebrated my small win over this revenue scammer.
Anyway, that was my story. And I hope that if you’re reading this, you at least learned something so that the next victim won’t be you. Share this in your circle, so that everyone may know. And remember, Revenue will NEVER ask you to provide personal information via calls or text messages.