I was able to immediately verify that a scary voice message threatening legal action was a scam. Of course, part of it is just my knowledge of how bureaucracies work. Authorities don’t leave threatening messages on first contact (and there certainly would be letters by mail). But I could easily think of a bunch of folks I know falling for this which is the really scary part. One quick Google search revealed all.
The call seems to have gotten more sophisticated since the article below was written and the caller did not mention the IRS specifically (in fact, they didn’t identify themselves clearly at all, another sign), but it was the scary guy wishing me “good luck” if I didn’t immediately call him back that led me to this article:
And much of the other language is identical. I must assume these scammers carefully test what works and then stick close to a script.
Thank you, Internet. 🙂