Those Fake IRS Scam Calls: This time they called a cop

Another story I read this morning comes from wbrc.com/story/34990091/video-cop-calls-fake-irs-agent-back-exchange-goes-viral

Cop calls fake IRS agent back

Unless you are really lucky or live in a cave, you've probably gotten a call or message on your phone or machine from the "IRS" telling you to call them back immediately or you are going to be arrested.

I first heard of this about 10 years ago (around 2007 or so) and it seems it's just getting bigger. This time around however they managed to call the police department.  And of course the police officer who took the call knew it to be a fake.

"Kyle Roder received an urgent call from a man claiming to be with the IRS. The fake agent told Roder he would be arrested if he did not call back immediately.

Roder is the public information officer for the Eau Claire Police Department in Wisconsin. Recognizing that it was a scam, he called the number and recorded the whole conversation."

As the fake IRS agent (with a thick and heavy accent) tried to convince the officer to give up personal information, it was recorded and has since been very popular on the internet.  But I love it because it is a great teaching moment!  So many people are pulled in by these scammers and I've often brought attention to some of them on It's Just the Coffee Talking.  Hopefully someone doing a frantic search online after receiving a call like this will stumble upon the story and know to stop, take a deep breath and know it's not real.

".... A man with a heavy accent asked Roder for the case number. Roder said he didn’t have a case number. The man said he could look it up if Roder provided his address.

“But you said you’re going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house,” Roder said. “If you don’t have my address, how are you going to do that?”

Roder then asked exactly when he was going to be arrested and who, exactly was going to arrest him. He asked if he could just go to his local IRS office and take care of things. And by the way, what was the caller’s name and badge number?
The flustered caller proceeded to give him two different names, made up a badge number on the spot, said the local IRS didn’t have access to his case and that that the county sheriff would send somebody by to arrest him before close of business that day."

".... Roder asked point blank if the call was a scam – the news always reports that the IRS only sends letters and doesn’t make phone calls.

The caller said oh, yes, they do make calls in emergency cases where arrest is imminent."

*For the record, a deputy with the Eau Claire Sheriff’s office confirmed that no sheriff’s office anywhere serves warrants from the IRS.*

I'm not going to go back look through my files right now but I'm pretty sure I blogged about when a young guy (maybe 20?) came to my house to do my annual termite inspection.  We got to talking and this subject came up as he had just received a call like this and was very shook up about it.  He had an Aunt who worked at the courthouse and had called her to ask if she had any way of knowing whether or not this was true.

He truly thought he was going to be arrested if he did not pay this man on the phone a large amount of money.  (I assured him it was fake and to ignore it.)

I'm also very concerned about the eldery - who often fall for things like this.  Getting the word out to everyone is the best way to stop it from happening to someone we love or even to strangers if you are like me and don't want to see ANYONE get scammed.  Even an enemy or someone I don't like... I don't even want THEM to be scammed.

So spread the word.

And lastly, the article mentioned this...  "He also stressed that people who aren’t police officers should not string scam callers along. Just hang up."

Great advice.  

Sometimes things really are an accident or miscommunication and we don't need to prosecute. Parents have been accused of forgetting their 8-week-old baby in a parking lot.

Source:  wbrc.com/story/34989795/baby-found-alone-in-parking-lot-parents-arrested

This morning as I sipped my coffee, this is one of the stories I read;   

Parents have been accused of forgetting their 8-week-old baby in a parking lot.

Obviously that caught my attention but as I read the article I found myself getting a little angry.  And not at the parents like I thought I would.... but at the whole situation and the blame on the parents.  First let me put some details of the story out there and then I'll ramble a bit about my thoughts.

Police arrested Sarah Shibley and Gary Collins on endangerment charges.  

"Look at this; somebody left a newborn baby," said a woman on a cell phone video recording of the child's discovery.

The baby boy has been placed in temporary foster care after it was abandoned Tuesday night in the lot, authorities said.
"I think it was an accident," said Erika Barrera, coworker of the mother.

Barrera and Shibley work at Russo's Pizzeria. Barrera said she remembers her coworker calling that evening and frantic.
"She just told me, 'Can you go check?'" Barrera said. "She was crying."

She said Shibley finished her shift at 9:17 p.m. and called around 9:40, looking for the infant. Shibley claimed she'd just realized that she left the newborn in the parking lot.

Barrera said Shibley believed Collins had put the child in the car, and Collins believed Shibley had.

Prosecutors said the parents had no idea they might have left the infant in the parking lot until a coworker called to tell Shibley that police had her baby.

Investigators said he'd been in the parking lot for 45 minutes before he was discovered. He was discovered by a restaurant patron sitting in a car seat.

The child's mother was arrested after coming back to the scene, as was the father.

Shibley refused to tell her side of the story before or after a court appearance Thursday. Her coworker said the mom seemed genuinely to love her baby boy and that she would talk about him often at work.

A judge is expected to decide whether to place that baby in the home of a family member.


The first thing I noted was the poor writing of the story author;

Investigators said he'd been in the parking lot for 45 minutes before he was discovered. He was discovered by a restaurant patron sitting in a car seat.

So apparently the restaurant patron was sitting in a car seat.  Yeah.  That.  (Do they really teach English or Journalism anymore?)

But let's get past that.

The 'investigators' say the baby was in the parking lot for 45 minutes before he was discovered.
That doesn't add up.
The mother got off work at 9:17 pm and was already on the phone calling her workplace to check for the baby at 9:40 by which time he was found.
That is 23 minutes.
Not 45.

Also, the baby is obviously happy, healthy and well cared for.
He was not neglected.  He was not 'abandoned' so much as 'accidentally' left.  Yes there is a difference.

And I was thinking about how almost every family has a story about 'that one time Dad drove off and forgot us....'  or 'that vacation where Dad accidentally forgot Ralphie at the rest area and was 10 miles down the road before...'  or 'remember the time Mom lost us in the Kmart store and we had gone outside to ride on the quarter-pay plastic horses'  Etc.

The 'accident' of leaving or forgetting your kid turns into a hilarious story told at family reunions and get-togethers.

Because up until just a few years ago (10? 15?)  people were allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
They weren't automatically arrested, charged and had their children taken away from them immediately.  Especially if the story behind it completely makes common sense on how it COULD have happened.  A terrible mistake yes... but was it out of anger or spite? Was it on purpose?  Was the child showing signs of bruising, abuse or neglect?


Just an exhausted mother getting off her job at a pizza place at 9:20 pm at night and she thought the Dad put the baby in the car. He thought the Mom put the baby in the car.  Babies are quiet little things - especially when you get them into a car.  They usually fall into a deep sleep, lulled by the motor and vibration of driving.  And since babies can't be in the front seat anymore, you cannot see them in the back if they are behind your seat... a silent, sleeping baby while you and your significant other talk over a long, hard day at work.  It's almost 10:00 pm and you just want to get home and go to bed.

I can totally see this happening.
As an accident.
Not on purpose.
And apparently by loving, caring parents.
Call it what it is - an accident.

People are human.
Human.  We are not perfect.  We do make mistakes.  Even pretty crappy mistakes.

But unless there were more circumstances surrounding this story (which there does not look like there is), I'd call it a terrible moment of miscommunication between two parents who thought the other had the baby and would not choose to prosecute.

It's just the coffee talking...  and now, I need to go brew another cup.