Amid Hacker’s Revenge on IRS Scammer, Let’s Review How IRS Notices Work

One of the most satisfying videos of the week has nothing to do with backflipping cats or adorable dogs or amazing vacation destinations you’ll never go to. Instead, it’s all about the hackers.

Here’s the summary: an IRS Scammer tries to defraud the wrong person. That person got his revenge by calling the scammer back. 28 times per second. Until the scammer was forced to shut down their phone line.

Watch it. It’s a bit long, but well worth it to see the scammers decent into madness:

Alright, so with that over, let’s take a step back and talk about reality. The reason scams like this work is that a lot of people are scared of the IRS (somewhat justified, since they can literally show up at your house with guns and take your stuff) and many people see the tax code as a big black box where they feed their info into TurboTax and pray it comes out right on the other side (very justified considering the length of the tax code). So I can understand how someone could be intimidated by a scammer claiming to be the IRS threatening to show up with guns and take their stuff for filing taxes incorrectly.

Which I think perfectly reflects my relationship with my HOA. But that’s a whole different matter

Anyway, that’s not how the IRS operates. Sure, having the IRS informing you of your screw up can be scary. But they’re not going to call to tell you that over the phone.

Let’s be honest, the IRS just doesn’t have the resources to do that. Have you tried calling up the IRS? The hold time can be ludicrous (and I don’t mean in the full plaid sense). With so many people fighting to call the IRS, do you honestly think they’re going to spare their resources on calling you and leaving messages?

No, of course not.

So how does it actually work? If you’re a normal, upright citizen, it’s pretty easy. They’ll send you a letter. Synergies with the US Postal Service and all that.

These IRS letters are typically filled with personal information (probably a bit too much, honestly). They will have a number to call if you want to discuss it, which should be the same number as they have listed on

I’ve been in this business for a while now, and I’ve never seen it work any differently than that. They’ll send you a letter. Then another. Then another. If you don’t respond, eventually they’ll just take the money out of your paycheck/bank account. No need to call and get all threatening. They have much better ways of making you pay.