Tag Archives: customer service

Here’s Why The #IRS Isn’t Suing You #scams


I’ve recently had to field my fifth and sixth final warnings from diligent and eager “IRS customer service agents” who are “bring lawsuit against you [me]” on my cell phone.

The phone calls are never live, because that would be illegal, to, y’know, falsely represent a federal agent.

The calls are usually after IRS business hours, so when I call them back, if a person doesn’t answer the phone, the calls are actually answered by a real IRS field office which doesn’t take calls and instructs you to call back during normal business hours. Somehow, the criminals are co-opting the real phone numbers of these offices.

Other times, if you call back and you get a person who alleges to be an IRS agent with a badge number and who gives a legitimate field office address and so if you check it on your computer at the same time you’re interacting with these people, the data is compelling, it can FEEL legitimate. It’s not.

Here’s the truth: they’re not legit. They’re criminals and thugs, wearing headsets and are only trying to steal from you.

My post here is skimming on many of the facts of these situations. I won’t purport to know all the reasons and ways the IRS will interact with a taxpayer. 

News of these scams are rampant.  One man in North Carolina, a minister, paid off these people with PREPAID DEBIT CARDS to the tune of $16,000 — that’s money he’ll NEVER see again…

So here are some (of many — too many to list) truths about this situation:

  • The actual IRS will announce an audit (not a lawsuit) over registered and certified mail, to your residence, or the last known residence listed on your most recent tax return.
  • The scammers called my son’s cell phone. He’s 17. He doesn’t have a job, never has. He doesn’t file taxes.
  • The scammers  don’t know who they’re talking to… that’s a tip-off.
  • The scammers don’t know your name. Don’t give it to them. It’s fun though, to give them a false one and let them follow a trail…
  • The scammers don’t know your street address, don’t give it to them. Keep the charade going: give them a fake one. 

If you make the scammers verify everything — it will be a very short call. But they’ll dance around it.

The scammers will say you’re under investigation for a very old tax return year, say, 2008. The IRS can’t audit you beyond two years’ worth of tax returns (so for FY 2015, they can’t go to years prior to 2013 — often these scammers will say you’re being sued on 2010 or older return — don’t believe it — it’s not real). They like to say the lawsuit (never an audit) is going far back to throw you off.

Will the scammer be articulate and persistent? Yes. They will keep saying the same thing — fast and confidently– and it will sound official and feel convincing. But here’s the truth: don’t call for it… call the IRS in the morning and have a rational conversation with an agent.

Better yet, don’t answer the call. Let it go to voicemail and then call an IRS office in the morning. The IRS also has a toll-free number: (800) 829-1040.

If after the audit, to which you are a party, and the IRS does deem some further action is in order, you will know about it well in advance and trust me, it won’t be handled over your cell phone.

A tip-off: these thugs threaten you with incarceration. The police aren’t coming to get you. These people don’t even know who you are, remember that. If you are on the phone with these clowns, ask them to give you your street address. They can’t. Because they’re on a Skype or other pirated line which can’t be traced, and they don’t know where you’re calling from. Don’t give it to them.

The Motley Fool wrote about this last April — http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/taxes/2015/04/15/beware-irs-phone-number-scams.aspx

The IRS placed phone scams as No. 1 on its dirty dozen tax scams list this year, up from No. 2 last year, when it received more than 90,000 complaints about such calls. It’s a quickly growing problem, as phone scams didn’t even make the top 12 list in 2013. –The Motley Fool

Here are other news stories / resources:


To get more official phone numbers:


But if you’re like me, and you like to really mess with these people on a slow night, and brush up your improv skills, do what I did last week:

Ai luyke to make pretend i am Oksana Brataslavich from Tsovkra – a tiny willage in Russia; home of many tightrope walkers of good repute, and thet ai am winning IRS lawsuit? HOW MUCH? HOW MUCH I WIN FOR? SUCH GREAT NEWS! THIS FUNDINGS OF AMERICAN DOLLARS WILL HELP WITH getting new carborator on tractor… and ai go on and on and on about how my mother needs new leg and thet my children, Boris, that lazy boy who is 6 now, can’t pull plow because of whooping cough he got from old man he spent weekend with…. they hang up.

I win. 

They’re out there, these assholes. Might as well screw with them if you have the inclination. My two sons and husband called them back — from four mobile phones — one night so much they didn’t answer for an hour. Then when they did pick up, they apologized for our wait saying they were dealing with prank callers. And we started in again. Yuk yuk yuk….

Thank you.


Because You Can’t Make this Shit Up. #Customer #Service #humor #insurance


I went to my gynecologist for her annual spelunking appointment and she wrote me a new prescription today to help with (men, you can come back in a paragraph if you want) my hormone-induced perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, bloating which mimics the USS Dallas (as seen in “Hunt for the Red October”) spontaneous melodrama, night sweats, in-the-basement reason forgetfulness, brain fog, insomnia, inability to make sandwiches, and laundry neglect (that last one’s a gimme).

The medication is relatively new, so I’m relatively freaked out about it. There isn’t too much data on it. It’s a super low-dosage cousin of some rather storied and potent shit out there, so I’m not sure I’m dedicated to the cause yet. I mean, what’s (sorry men, I lied, come back in another paragraph) wrong with some really heavy cramps, ennui, intense bleeding, possible anemia (isn’t the harpie look in this year?), totally inconsistent period arrival and the occasional urge for solace by digging a hole to China under a crescent moon with my bite guard?

Other than Flonase and antibiotics for the occasional lapse of taking my Flonase, I don’t take many prescriptions. I like to go the herbal route. The supplement route. The what-the-fuck-is-in-this?, but-at-least-it’s-not-linked-to-inducing-suicidal-thoughts route. It might not always be efficacious, but I also believe in the placebo effect.

So today, because of this new script, I called my insurance company to learn the ropes about costs and copays and deductibles. Before I got too deep into the details, my very helpful Aetna rep told me I needed to call CVS / CareMark whose wizards would know the answers to all my prescription-based questions.

This is how that call went…

CareMark: Thank you for calling CareMark, may I have the member ID?

Me: Hi, this is Molly Field. I’m calling to find out cost and copay details for a new prescription. The ID number is  1234567.

CareMark: Who do you work for? >slurp<

Me: Uh, myself. My kids. I don’t have a job that provides insurance. I’m a … yoga teacher…?

CareMark:  Are you Daniel?

Me: No. I’m me. I’m his —

CareMark: Why are you calling about Daniel? Are you calling on his behalf?

Me: No. I’m calling on my behalf. My name —

CareMark: Why do I have Daniel’s information then? >clichslurk<

Me: You asked me for the account number.

CareMark: Who is this?

Me: I’m his wife. He’s my husband. I’m calling on my own behalf for me about … me.

CareMark: What is your name and date of birth?

Me: (relieved: now we are getting somewhere.) My name is Molly Field my date of birth is ___ ___ 1829.

CareMark: Ok. Why are you calling? >slurk<

Me: sigh. To get cost information on our policy and how much a new prescription will cost… When I dropped it —

CareMark: What is your account number?

Me: I just gave it to you and it seemed to confuse —

CareMark: Account number please. >skicch< I can’t look up anything without that… Do I have your consent…

Me: Yes. You have my consent. The account number will give you … it’s 1234567.

CareMark: Am I speaking to the spouse?

Me: Yes. On my own behalf about medication prescribed for me.

CareMark: How may I assist you?

Me: Ok. I’d like to know cost and copay information about a medication called STOPSHITTYSYMPTOMS.

CareMark: That’s the 7.5mg dosage, correct? >skicch.<

Me: (after memorizing the promotional crate it came home in, complete with two obscured magnets to keep it closed, what the what is this? a Michael Kors bag?? Now I know where the money is being spent by this pharma) Yes, 7.5.

CareMark: A 90-daysupplyis$97. Untilyoumeetyourdeductible. >skich.<

Me: What is the deductible?

CareMark: Thereareseveraldeductiblelevelsonyourplan. >slurp.< Oneis25anotheris35andthefamilyis65. Per year. >clitch<

Me: (what the fuck is that sound?) Ok. So what’s the copay?

CareMark: What are you talking about? What copay?  >shlink<

Me: (irked and confused and super curious about what’s in her mouth) Ok. You just said … if I’m following you, why would I pay the full $97 for the 90-day supply seeing as how I’d met at least one of the deductibles you mentioned? I mean, even at the 65, I’d only need to pay, what… $32 and so then, what would the copay be after that?

CareMark: You >sklurk< wouldn’t have met the deductible.

Me: But you said the deductible was three levels. You said “25 and 35 and 65.” Those are the figures you gave me. So if I pay $97 for a 90-day supply, I would have already met the deductible. Yes?

CareMark: >slurp< No. Nowhere near the deductible.

Me: (slamming face with desk, wondering about the need for this medication when all I think we need to do is rid ourselves of idiots at call centers) But … that’s close to $400. A three-refill 90-day script, which is what I was given, will cost … $388, way beyond the deductible you quoted me. You just said, “25, 35 and 65 are the deductible levels…”

CareMark: (audible groan) >querlk< HUNDRED. TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED, THIRTY FIVE HUNDRED. SIXTY FIVE HUNDRED.  (you freaking idiot.) That’s your deDUCTible levels.

Me: (oh hell NO you didn’t…) HUNDRED?! As in Twenty-five hundred dollars for a deductible? Is THAT what you meant? (CareMark Mistress of the Dark is >sklerking< in the background…)

You said “twenty-five, thirty-five and sixty-five” and didn’t say “hundred” after any of those figures. So naturally, I thought you were talking about an entirely different denomination… >pausing to listen< Um, (with obvious bitter disgust) are you eating something? Because I can’t unders–

CareMark: >pause< No. I am not eating any — I am SUCKING on a COUGH DROP. I am SICK today. >SLERK SKECK CRUNCH<

Me: >pause.< Oh. I ask if you’re eating something because I’m having a hard time understanding you. You aren’t speaking clearly. And, that you left out of that deductible information by a factor of one-hundred.

So, then, yes, doing the math that I understand now, I would not meet the deductible. That’s fine. It is what it is.

Now, since CareMark has been our prescription program provider for several years, can you tell me what my family’s history was last year on what we paid for prescriptions so I can get a sense of whether or not we even came close to meeting those deductibles? You know, so I can get a ballpark on —

CareMark Viper from Hell: You want a WHAT? >sklerk< From WHEN?

Me: (fuck you; you work for me) I’d like to know if you can provide me with a … report, yes, a report of what we paid last year for prescriptions so that I can understand how that shaped up… I know some systems won’t give access to data so maybe you need to transfer me (please o please o please transfer me…), but I’m just looking for a snapshot, if you will, of how much we paid —

CareMark succubus: I don’t know what YOU’RE talking >slurk< about, but I can give >sklech< a COST REPORT (you moron) of your prescriptions from last year. I can send it to you …

Me: (incredulous) Mmmmmm Nnnnnooooo. That won’t be necessary; you don’t need to print it out and mail it to me, I’m just looking for a quick-and-dirty here (still trying to be niccccce….) so that I can .. can you just look at it and tell me?

(envisioning bats pipping and fluttering about her head; her face slack, with green from the reflecting the screen) Is there a screen you can click on? Do you have that (carefully choosing my words) ca-pa-bil-i-ty on your sys-tem that will show you that his-tor-ic in-for-ma-tion so you can just tell me the cost report from reading it on your screen? (SMILING a TOOTHY GRIN but with narrowed eyes.) 

CareMark demon: (likely hunched over one of those ancient monolithic IBM 8600 desktop computers we used to call “machines” back in the 90s) You didn’t meet it. >slerk< You didn’t reach your deductible last year.

Me: (oddly proud that we didn’t need that insurance but pissed we paid for coverage for it) Oh. Did we come close? I mean, would have this addition of this STOPSHITTYSYMPTOMS last year, hypothetically of course, would it achieved the deductible? (at this point, i’m not sure of why i’m asking about any of this; something about this woman made me want to pick at her though…)

CareMark: No. >sklerrrrk<

Me: Ok. Well, that’s that. (sincerely) Thank you. You’ve been very helpful.


Me: hello?

She hung up on me. Not a “Thank you for calling CareMark and giving me a job to do and keeping my wages coming in…” or “Is there anything else I can do for you today?” or, I don’t know, “Good bye.”

I think she needs the medicine more than I do.

So then I called Aetna and told them what happened to me. They took a full report.

You’re allowed to be sick. You’re allowed to sklerk on a lozenge. But you’re not allowed to be viperous. You’re just not.

Here’s the final thing: I’m a big girl, I’m healthy, I’m happy and living a very wonderful and stable life. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that this puff adder would somehow meet up on that phone line with someone who’s really in need. Maybe a mother of an infant with a blood infection; a father who’s son is in rehab, y’know: PEOPLE. I was concerned that she would affect a person who’s rattled, whose spouse just had a stroke, or who needs to know about his or her new health plan and that this agent would treat that rattled spouse or parent or patient so horribly that the day would be ruined. 

Truth be told, I thought of my father, who’s 84 now, and if he needed to call CareMark to ask about his prescription benefits. I thought about my mother-in-law, who’s 29, and considered her situation with that agent and I decided I couldn’t let it go. 

So I called CareMark later on and spoke with management. The manager I spoke with was mortified by Elvira’s behavior and grateful that I called back. 

CareMark redeemed itself to me on that second phone call. It turns out it’s not a “deductible,” it’s a Maximum Allowable Benefit (MAB), which is the exact opposite of a deductible. A deductible is threshold you must meet by paying into it, and  it would eventually reduce your out-of-pocket expenses as you go forward. When you reach your deductible, your costs go down. The MAB is an already established account, with funds already in it, that when you buy your medication, that sum is deducted. When you run out of the MAB, you pay more. It’s like a bet the insurance is taking, that you will try to meet. 

I don’t know how that rep has stayed employed.

Why am I in the basement and what am I looking for down here? Geez, I hope it’s not for the laundry.

Thank you.

Rant: Burnt Tofu on MLK Day


I’m not one to rant and go all preachy consumer-advocacy on my blog. I save that for the phone calls to the customer service lines of the places where I receive bad service.

But this time… the place deserves it.

My long-time, beloved and local Noodles & Co., has earned my wrath.

I ordered Pad Thai with extra tofu. I knew this was a gamble, because I’ve had it before at this restaurant and it’s been pretty subpar; but their other stuff is usually quite good, so I went against my better judgment. I love N&C. When I was PTA president, I used to arrange our dinners out fundraisers there all the time. It was a great relationship. But these elegant café places are sort of all the same now: explosive growth, good food swiftly prepared and you’re out in less than 40 minutes, because we all have to get back to texting and instagram.

After ordering we sat down with the number placard which designated our order. All our meals arrived and all my tofu was beneath the Pad Thai noodles. About halfway into the meal, my stomach started to hurt. So I stopped eating. I “searched” around into my bowl and discovered my tofu was seared scorched. It was beyond overcooked, it was past its peak and it was inedible, hard and bad tasting.

I decided at first to let it go and just move on. But then I thought better of it and I walked up to the counter with my bowl and I presented it to a staffer. I’m not sure he was the manager, but he looked to be the oldest in the restaurant.

He asked me if I needed assistance and I told him my food was overcooked and showed it to him. I should have taken a picture of it, but I didn’t. My phone was in my car and I’m really starting to get skeeved out by all the photo sharing all over the internet and the way things are taken out of context.

I said, “This is overcooked; not only is that the problem, but it’s singed, burnt. It should never have been served and someone served it anyway.”

“Why didn’t you tell us about it earlier?”

“Because it was hidden beneath the noodles and my stomach only started hurting moments ago. Does it look burned to you? Does it look like it should be served?”

“Would you like another one? How about dessert?” he said, gesturing to the piles of brick-sized rice krispy treats and 6″ cookies in a basket on the counter.

“No. Thanks, no. My appetite is shot. I just wanted you to know. It’s too bad; this place used to be my go-to but lately, in the last six months or so, it just seems to have gone downhill; become lazy and this burnt tofu is sort of a sign of that. You all have let things slide.”

“Would you like something else? How about taking something to-go?”

I tilted my head. I didn’t want anything in return. And here’s where I started to realize that I was talking to a script reciter. This person had no … interpersonal skills or training. No empathy, well, that was just a hunch until he said this when I asked him if he’d eat it…

“Well, I don’t like Pad Thai,” smirking. I hate smirks. They’re symbolic to me of peoples’ inability to feel whatever they’re feeling and behave authentically.

My eyes became as big as saucers. They popped out of my head, bounced off the counter, landed on the floor, and rolled about 12 feet to a nearby table. While my kids scrambled for them, I did my best, “WHAT?!”

“You don’t like Pad Thai? Tell me you didn’t just say that. Well, then do you like your food burnt? We’re not gonna really go there, are we?”

Sheepish smile, clear discomfort came over his face and he sort of snorted in spite of himself, “Well, I uh, no. I don’t like my food burnt.”

He was looking at me (my kids were holding up my eyeballs for me, like Mr. Potatohead would do for the missus when she lost her eye) and he said, “Well, what do you want me to do for you?”

I said, “I realize this makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have a solution that will address this; my appetite is ruined because of the burned food your kitchen concealed beneath the noodles; I get that. I don’t want money, I don’t want food. I just want you to say you’re sorry and that regardless of whether you like Pad Thai, that you hear me. That you understand how I feel and that laziness contributed to this experience.”

“Yeah. I guess it did.”

That was the best he could give me. It’s not that I wanted more or that I needed I needed I needed, it’s that there’s something wrong, something missing, a chip maybe in someone who can LOOK SOMEONE ELSE squarely in the face and ostensively tell them that their complaint doesn’t jibe with them BECAUSE it’s not identical, because it’s not their comfort at stake, because it’s not ABOUT THEM. They can’t … empathize.

I’m sure this is part of what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he talked about service, when he talked about doing your best to further humanity and social progress. I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean for a 20-something manager behind the counter of a restaurant to slough responsibility and avoid apology (which he still had yet to do; the words, “You’re right, this is bad, I’m terribly sorry about it” or even their ilk never crossed his lips). What did cross his lips? Compensation, a product replacement, an actable solution; corporate policy.

Sometimes, all someone wants is to be told their concerns are valid; that they matter and that they were right to want an apology. I’m sure that isn’t asking too much; if it is… we’ve got big problems.

Thank you.