Was that collection call real or just a scam? (I’m scared).

So my 17 year old forwarded me a voicemail he received today on his cellphone.  You can read the screenshot below:  scam phone call

It was a scam.  There is no Steve Parker with the IRS calling my son from a strange phone number.  My son has never even worked hard enough to have to pay taxes yet.  Sigh.

The worst thing is that this is a pretty normal format for a scare-tactic kind of collection call.  There is a false badge of authority (IRS) with a vague threat of arrest or court action.  I am sure that if you call back, they will threaten you until you give a debit card number and agree to some kind of payment plan.

The problem is that it can be hard to know if it is a scam or not.  Some of them (like this one), are so ridiculous that it can’t be real.  However, the easiest way to find out is NOT to call the number.  I like to run a simple google search for the phone number to see if it has been linked to scam collection calls.

This one had.  a google search gave results ranging from an IRS scare to a generic “paralegal” claiming that someone had an arrest warrant for failure to pay a medical bill.

In my experience, if it is a call from a collector, then the don’t have pending criminal charges against you.  First, they need to sue you and then go through the normal legal steps to collect.  It is possible that you may get a civil arrest warrant down the road for failure to pay the judgment after failing to attend a court hearing, but that is very different from “being arrested” for failing to call this number back.