Do cell-phone service companies actually sell subscriber address- and phone number-lists?

A few days ago I was the intended victim of a widespread scam–IRS impersonators who make unsolicited calls and tell people they owe large sums in back taxes, and must pay in a certain fashion lest they be arrested, fined, or imprisoned.
I have followed advice from the IRS and the Treasury Department website (a special link) to deal with this, but I want to know if my service provider can bear some blame by giving out information about me in the first place.

Robo-calling software is quite capable of dialing every possible number in sequence.

I thought of that too but I am guessing that the OP is suggesting that the caller already knows the name and address of the phone owner.

Is that true OP? Did they call already knowing your name and address?

IRS impersonation scam.

No need to know the victim’s name beforehand to pull off this.

Yes. What was strange was that the caller, who spoke with a strong accent suggesting perhaps he was from India or Pakistan, addressed me as “Mister” followed by my first name, not my last–which the Korean people in my doctor’s office do. And yes, they knew my home address.

Haven’t there been some major security breaches at some of the phone service companies over the past few years that could also explain how scammers got your info?

P. S. I come from a telephone-company family and have some knowledge of this…but I went to the websites of the IRS and the Treasury Department just the same.
And I called the local police, too.

That I didn’t really know about, but it’s possible.

Why limit yourself to the phone service companies? It could have been a leak at almost any other company that keeps a record of its customers’ phone numbers.

But do all of them have the customer’s home address?
Besides, with many of the places that I have contacted regularly, I don’t use my actual first name. I got the cell phone account with my full name, which does require it; and my doctors’ offices and pharmacy also use it. Offhand, it’s hard to think of anyone else who has my cell phone number who also has my legal first name.

However: My checks–and I use checks infrequently since I got an ATM card-- have my name in both forms. Still, the bank statements, of course, have records of the payees of those checks…

Just a reminder – the IRS never phones people, Nor uses email. They always send you letters. The letter may have a phone number where they can be reached, but you have to be the one to phone them. (And while they will talk to you and answer questions, almost certainly you will have to send them document copies through the main.

So any phone call or email claiming to be from the IRS is a scam!

Wrong! Look at a 1040 form, next to your signature. See that space for “daytime phone number”? That’s so the IRS can contact you if there are questions about your return. They will call if something seems wrong, unreadable, etc. But this is for processing your return. If they want money, they’ll send a letter.

Do not assume that all phone calls claiming to be from the IRS are scams. Quite likely they are, but some are legit.

Well, I’m usually wary of absolutes.

Concur. We had a call from the IRS years back regarding a tax form we had submitted - something to do with childcare credit and another form on child tax credit, or thereabouts. I’d assumed that because of X, we did not need to fill in form Y (as it would have made no difference in the taxes due). Turned out we did need to fill in form Y. They got the figure (childcare paid, I think) over the phone, we did not give out any sensitive info.

That said, yeah, these days there’s a very good chance any call from the “IRS” is a scam. We got one once and I let it go to the answering machine; I called the number back out of curiosity and they actually had a number set up and a female Indian-accented voice actually answered it “Internal Revenue Service” or “Department of Treasury” or something vaguely official sounding.