Phone scammers who were claiming to be IRS agents got more than they bargained for when they contacted a computer programmer who specializes in scam prevention. After verifying the call wasn’t actually from the IRS, the programmer created a script designed to stop their operation in its tracks, making it nearly impossible for them to contact anyone else.
The computer programmer, who goes by the username YesItWasDataMined on the popular Reddit site and is also the operator of an anti-scam organization called Project Mayhem, received a voicemail from a person who claimed to be an agent with the IRS.
He called the number back and decided to record the conversation. He was told he owed a substantial fine, that a lawsuit had been filed against him, that local authorities “will be at your place,” and even that his property could be seized to repay the debt. He was accused of attempting to “defraud the government” and that there was an outstanding amount of $8,219 owed.
The person couldn’t clearly explain why he allegedly owed the money, saying only that there was a miscalculation on the amount owed from the previous tax year. The programmer knew it was an attempt to scam him.
He quickly came up with an idea that was designed to interrupt their operation. The programmer created a script that would call the phone numbers associated with the scammers 28 times per second, playing an automated message when they answered the call. This process would tie up with phone lines, making it nearly impossible for them to contact potential victims.
The automated message stated, “Hello. It has been detected that you are a scammer. Because of this, we are now flooding your phone lines to prevent you from scamming additional people. This will not stop until you stop.”
The programmer recorded these calls as well, compiling the experience into a video he shared on YouTube. “Agents” answering the calls become noticeably frustrated, asking, “Who told you?” and saying, “Who are you first of all? I’m asking your name!”
Throughout the bombardment, the scammers attempt to block the numbers associated with the incoming calls, but the programmer asserts that can’t be done.
At various points during the audio, the scammers are recorded speaking in Hindi.
As the scammers get more frustrated, they even admit to what they are doing. One recipient of the automated call is recorded saying, “Yes, I know I am a scammer, and I’m proud to be a scammer m***erf***er!”
Another even makes threats, saying, “I’m going to f*** you up, m***erf***er. Don’t f*** with me, ok? You better run scared, I’m going to skin your head, m***erf***er!”
At the time the video was posted on YouTube, the flooder had been running for three days, preventing any other calls from being placed or received by the scammers.
According to the IRS, thousands of people have fallen victim to various scams involving fake IRS communications, costing people millions of dollars. The agency also states they do not “threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action” and that individuals should consider such threats “telltale signs of a phishing or tax scam.”
h/t Bored Panda