Due to the continuing rash of IRS scams being perpetrated on the American public and the hysterical telephone calls I continue to receive from my clients, friends and family, I decided to reprint this previously published column:
For most people in this country, the three most dreaded letters in the alphabet are I, R, and S. Mail from the IRS will bring even the most macho men to their knees. It is this fear that is used by scam artists.
Last month, while having dinner in Brooklyn, New York, I overheard a woman at a nearby table telling a story of that day’s trauma of receiving a threatening telephone call from an “IRS Collection Agent” informing her that “if she did not immediately pay the $2,500 she owed in back taxes, a warrant would be issued for her immediate arrest and her assets would be seized.” She had no knowledge of owing any back taxes and was terrified and called her tax preparer who, as yet, had not returned her call. She went on to tell her companions that the “Agent” suggested that she pay the balance due immediately with gift certificates from a local big-box chain store.
Unable to remain quiet, I introduced myself to the anguished woman, provided my background, and explained to her that this was clearly, no doubt, unmistakably, absolutely, and positively a scam. I gave her a dissertation on the IRS collection policies and procedures which DO NOT include abusive telephone calls, threatening arrest or accepting store gift cards as payment of…