By Dale Gribow
On March 13, 2015 CNN and the Desert Sun warned of Fake IRS Agents targeting 400,000 people with harassing phone calls demanding payments and threatening jail. This nationwide scam has cost taxpayers almost $16,000,000. Timothy Camus, the Treasury Deputy Inspector General for Tax Administration, said since 2013 over 3000 people from almost every state have been scammed… with one taxpayer losing $500,000.
It is suspected there are several nationwide groups perpetrating this pervasive scam with some from overseas. The fake IRS agent calls the taxpayer claiming they owe taxes and demanding immediate payment with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The fake agent had one guy drive from one place to another buying pre-paid cards for $500 each.
Law enforcement is “on the way” they claim and will arrest and close down your business. They scare the taxpayer threatening custody, deportation of illegals and loss of your California Driver’s License.
Ironically I received such a call last year that made my fraud antenna immediately go up because the caller’s accent was very thick and not understandable. I questioned why the IRS would employ agents that did not speak clearly as IRS matters are highly sensitive. Being suspicious, I questioned the caller who YELLED, “Just hang up!”… “Hang up $#%&* @#(^#$ or you will be sorry”. Wow!
The IRS does not call taxpayers but would instead send a letter. However it is not that hard to print IRS stationary with a fake number. Upon receiving a call or dialing out, the caller ID will show “IRS”. As an elderly resort community we are considered easy pickings.
There are many SCAMS going on every minute of the day. I googled SCAMS and read up on some listed below.
- A caller claims to be a law enforcement officer acting on behalf of the IRS, or with the Palm Springs Police or Riverside County Sheriff. The caller ID confirms same. If this happens… call the IRS 800 829 1040 or forward their emails to phishing@IRS.gov.
- A caller claiming to be a City official or Sheriff’s Department threatens “you missed Jury Duty” and asks for Money Orders to correct same. They may request you call with the information on the back of the suggested money order you are ordered to purchase,,, or ask you for a prepaid debit card.
- They may claim you won the lottery and they need your bank account information to wire you money.
- SCAMS in Palm Springs may involve Rental Properties. Be wary of listings on Craigslist for vacation rentals by owner. Be careful when no phone number or email address is listed. Prospective renters may be asked to send money for a home rental during an event such as Coachella/ Stagecoach or Tennis. The home may not exist; may be rented to someone else, not owned by the other party or not for rent.
- When looking for a rental or renting your home, look carefully at the spelling and language in the AD as they are often prepared by non-Americans. Consider checking Google Maps to be sure the address exists. Also, be wary if the renter asks for money up front or asks for $40 to run a background check.
- Sometimes the scammer moves into the home, complains nothing works and refuses to pay any rent. The renter then extorts money from the homeowner for the poorly maintained home demanding $25,000 to 50,000 to vacate and not file a law suit. We have represented several homeowners on these matters.
- KMIR reported Loan Scams last year where the caller says it is understood that the person being called is looking for a loan, and ‘voila’ they have been pre-approved for an installment loan. The caller may ask for your bank routing info to send the money to you. Then in order to secure the loan the borrower may be asked to purchase items such as gift cards in an amount that will be reimbursed when the loan takes place.
Report FRAUD /ID thefts:
Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline 877 ID Theft/ www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Social Security hotline 800 269 0271/ www.ssa.gov/oig
Contact credit bureaus:
Equifax: 800 525 6285/ www.equifax.com
Experian: 888 397 3742/ www.experian.com
Transunion: 800 680 7289/ www.transunion.com
Keep the above numbers in a safe place just in case! Remember the bottom line is that everything is not always as it seems so be careful and check before giving out any private information.
Dale Gribow :
1) TOP LAWYER rating by Palm Springs Life 2011-2015
2) Perfect AVVO 10.0 Peer Review Rating by fellow attorneys
3) “Preeminent” Rating by Martindale Hubbell
4) Selected for Rue “Best Attorneys of America” (Limited to Top 100 Attorneys per state.).
2015 Client Appreciation Award
For more than 30 years Gribow has been committed to protecting client’s civil and criminal constitutional rights. Regardless of whether the matter concerns a Serious Accident, DUI, Business, Real Estate or Estate Planning issue, every case is diligently handled with the utmost of respect and care. Gribow offers clients decades of experience and success, thus making him the attorney of choice for thousands of clients.
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