With tax season in full swing, the recent story about the most wildly successful IRS impersonation scheme in the history of the agency is particularly interesting. Evidently a total of 3,000 victims fell prey to telephone scammers, to the tune of roughly $15 million dollars.
Given it’s painful enough to pay the real IRS, this fleecing by an imposter hurts all the more. Ever been on the phone with a high-pressure salesman? Take that savvy, multiply ten fold, and you have the persuasive force of a telephone scam artist. People fall for them all the time—every demographic: old, young, middle-class, low income. Intelligent people included.
These cheats called people and then terrified them with threats of arrests, deportation, or loss of licenses. Demanding immediate payment by prepaid debit card, they talked fast and got people to acquiesce to shelling out money. Using fear and high pressure, they created a sense of urgency that, absent from the situation, might have let victims think through their actions before making an unfortunate mistake.
Timothy Camus, a Treasury deputy inspector general for tax administration, points out that real IRS agents generally give you the heads-up via mail. Additionally, they never demand payment by debit card, credit card or wire transfer.
“Our message is simple,” Camus said. “If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you do not pay immediately, it is a scam artist calling. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone. If you do owe money to the IRS, chances are you have already received some form of a notice or correspondence from the IRS in your mailbox.” (For more detail, visit original AP article here http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/fake-irs-agents-target-366000-huge-tax-scam/).
Be vigilant against telephone, online, or mail predators. How? First of all, never provide credit card or social security information over the phone. If someone calls claiming to be from your bank or any credit institution you’ve used, they already have your account numbers and social. They won’t ask.
Additionally, make sure you’re at the official cite when you buy online. Check the “about” tab somewhere buried deep at the bottom of the page. Consider using paypal, where you only enter your credit card information one time and never have to provide it again.
Finally, by mail. A simple tip is never put checks in your mailbox. Scammers will target houses by actually watching them then striking.
“The problem is if I’m an identity thief, I have your name, address, phone number, bank routing number, your full checking account number, what check number you’re on, and a copy of your original signature, all from that one piece of paper,” warned Corporal Kelli Bruemmer, TRIAD Coordinator—a crime prevention and safety program for people over 55, with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
These scams can put people in dire straits regarding identity theft and credit issues. The creditors call the name on the account if it all goes awry. There are few things as terrifying as money troubles, especially if they involve legal credit issues as well. If you’re dealing with creditors or the fallout from a scam, an attorney can be your best advocate.
Jeff Krigel is an attorney in Tulsa who focuses his practice on criminal defense and other legal issues, including credit. The Jeff Krigel Law firm is a full-service Oklahoma law firm dedicated to achieving your legal goals in a competent, trusting, and result oriented manner. The firm is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and handles criminal defense, as well as other legal matters in all Oklahoma Counties. If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to seek the help of a qualified attorney. We offer free consultations and have payment plans available. There is no reason not speak with someone regarding your case. If you have questions regarding your specific case, call for a free consultation. 918-994-2340