Recently I have had two clients come into my office and state: “I came home last night and found a message on my answering machine. It warned that I was under suspicion of fraud and other irregularities by the Internal Revenue Service and that I should call this number as soon as possible.” Both clients wisely came to our office to discuss this threat. This morning’s client asked me, “What is happening?” I responded that it was undoubtedly a scam call and he should NOT return their call. I also advised him to REPORT the call to the Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov. as other taxpayers need to be made aware of this scam tactic. It is the duty of accountants and taxpayers to expose these scams after we have become aware of them or have had one of these unfortunate experiences. Our warnings may save fellow taxpayers from not only losing money, but also help them in recognizing future scams. In addition, we discussed how the elderly are preyed upon because of their vulnerability. Scammers know that older adults are less likely to question them and just send them whatever they are asking for. As an example, my wife’s twin sister was recently called by a similar scam. She was informed that she would be going to jail immediately unless a $2,500 cash card was not sent. They convinced her to go to her bank and withdraw the funds from her bank account. The branch manager questioned her about why she was making the withdrawal but was unable to persuade her to wait. Fortunately, when she got over to the grocery store to buy the cash card, the store manager intervened and contacted the bank manager. They convinced my sister-in-law to call a family member. We of course told her in no way should she give them any money at all. Thanks to the conscientiousness of the two managers, she was able to return the money to her bank account! The above incident illustrates the importance of educating as many people as possible to these scams. I am advising all of my clients, young and old, to be aware of scams and to hang up immediately whenever a suspected scammer calls. “THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE WILL NEVER CALL AND DEMAND THAT MONEY BE PAID IMMEDIATELY!” If you owe back taxes, the IRS will always notify you first by mail. The only time the IRS will come and demand money will be after many times of contacting you. Only in extreme cases of refusing to pay taxes will the IRS show up at your door with badges and guns. Our firm will gladly help you work out a satisfactory solution to challenging tax problems. In summary, never talk to a person claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money and threatening that you will be arrested and jailed if you do not pay immediately. The IRS does not operate that way. Hang up and report the IRS scam.
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