It's Tax Season...
...And that means it's also scam season.
I must admit that I've been lucky. I don't get many scam phone calls. I just get bombarded with the e-mails ("Hi, I'm Grand Poobah Snicker Fritz, I'm the president of Brownspotmolia, and I have $2 million US in gold that I'll give you if you send me $75 processing!"). When I do get them they almost immediately ring a bell as bogus. (Last week someone called and said, "I'm from your credit card company, and we...." I stopped him and said, " Which bank are you from?" He didn't stop reading his script so I hung up.)
Today I got my first IRS scam phone call. I didn't actually talk to them. They left me a message: "This is a message from IRS (not the IRS) is filing lawsuit (again, not a lawsuit)..." It contained a phone number with an Albuquerque area code, not a Washington DC area code. I immediately reported it to the IRS and the US Treasury.
Sometimes these people get clever, but this one had so many holes in it that I thought a piece of Swiss cheese was calling. It does, however, bring to mind the fact that these types of scams -- people calling, claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, trying to get your money from you. Let me reiterate the things the real IRS tells people regarding their agency:
- They DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, call people. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, forget it. They DO NOT call people.
- They DO NOT ask for your information. They're the stinking IRS, they already KNOW it! (It's like a joke on the old series Hogan's Heroes... a woman asked Major Hockstetter, the Gestapo agent, if he wanted her address, to which he replied, "No, we already have everyone's address." ) Why would the IRS call you and ask you for your information? (Which brings up another subject: anyone who calls, claiming to to be from your bank or whatever, and asks you who you are is a scam artist! If your bank, doctor, Internal Revenue agent, whomever, needs to talk to you, the first thing they're going to say is, "May I speak with (your name here)?")
- They DO NOT threaten to "sue you." They're the IRS, for crying out loud, they can put your butt in prison. Why would they need to resort to a civil suit when they have the authority of the United States government at their disposal? Does the name Willie Nelson ring a bell with you?
- They DO NOT threaten you if you're current with your taxes. Think: are you cheating on your taxes? Have you not filed in 15 years? Are you $85,000 behind on your taxes? No? Then why would the IRS threaten you?
- And, if you have any doubt, see rule # 1: they DO NOT CALL PEOPLE. They will send you a certified letter if they have any real issues with you.
It's always smart to take these types of phone calls with a grain of salt. At this time of year, when people are filling out their tax forms, be extra vigilant. If you receive one of these phone calls, report it to the IRS and the U.S. Treasury (there are links to both on the IRS web site -- which, remember, ends in gov , not "com"!).
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/phone-dial-old-arrangement-499991/ by nafets