Almost every American who earns money understands the reality of paying taxes. They also understand the massive splitting headache that can frequently result from filling out forms, double-checking arithmetic, and researching key concepts like “itemization” and “exemption.”
Unfortunately, most folks are also familiar with those fake-but-frightening IRS phone scams. With information access becoming easier than ever, deceitful individuals have adopted all sorts of underhanded tactics to swindle innocent targets.
The drill goes something like this: Your phone rings out of the blue, and an official-sounding voice announces that you owe some sort of unpaid tax bill ASAP.
According to the IRS, unsolicited “robo-calls” of this nature are bogus. They’re merely an attempt to scam conscientious consumers out of money, and/or steal their identity.
Nonetheless, the IRS.gov website estimates that intimidating phone exchanges of this nature have collectively cost unsuspecting call recipients over $23 million. And evidently, one especially creative victim named Steve Wood recently decided to push back ever-so-slightly.
According to the Indiana Wesleyan University website, Wood serves as associate professor and technical director for the school’s theater department. And judging from a Facebook video posted by fellow faculty member Ken Schenck, Wood has some extremely well-developed acting chops.
Wood’s roughly 3-minute video snippet is being cheered across social media. In it, he adopts the politely apologetic persona of “Brittany McIntosh” and walks the phone perpetrator through a highly comical conversation.
“I was literally, like five seconds ago, talking to someone named, I believe, Officer Parker … or Porker,” begins Wood in a sweetly feminine-sounding voice.
“Is there someone who can help me?” continues Wood, still posing as his well-meaning “Brittany” alter-ego. “He was explaining something to me about the Iris — that I owed some money to Iris.”
Eventually, Wood asks for the name of the individual to whom he’s speaking. “Ellie Smith?” he proclaims in bubbly falsetto. “Oh my gosh, that’s beautiful, thank you Ellie — OK, I’m listening very carefully.”
Wood then goes on as “Brittany” to ask several more clarifying questions about “the Iris.” Gradually he becomes visibly verklempt, worrying aloud that arrest might be imminent due to an outstanding payment.
“I was heading to the police station to turn myself in,” explains Wood/Brittany. “Am I doing the right thing, Ellie?”
This playful dialog becomes even more mischievous and far-fetched, eating away at the personal time of pretend IRS rep Ellie. It culminates with Wood’s feigned confusion over which actual Washington has issued the supposed “arrest warrant.”
“Washington’s not in Seattle??” he asks in mock astonishment. “Oh my gosh, you mean the capital? I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
Viewers everywhere are getting quite a chuckle out of Wood’s thespian-inspired antics. But the IRS reminds consumers that these fraudulent shakedown attempts are no laughing matter.
They say that if you or a loved one don’t believe you owe taxes, refuse to provide any personal information whatsoever. Hang up immediately, and report the call to TIGTA.
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