Saturday, March 14, 2015

IRS scam costing victims $15 million

Link to article

Thieves have stolen $15 million from at least 3,000 people in just the last two years by pretending to be the IRS. The thieves threaten the victims by saying things like they could go to jail for five years unless they pay them immediately.

My first thought when I read that was "Really, people are that dumb to just cough up thousands of dollars?" But as Al Cadenhead said later in the article, "I was the perfect victim. I've never been audited, never paid a traffic ticket. I don't know how to pay fines. How do I know they aren't stern and serious about everything?"

Basically, people are so scared when they hear that the IRS is after them that they'll do anything to get them off their backs. The scammers target everyone, but specifically immigrants and the elderly.

Currently there is an investigation going on, but scammers are still out there. Obviously, these scammers should be arrested if caught, but, looking at the bigger picture, why is there such widespread fear of the IRS? Is our tax system so complicated that people immediately assume they've screwed up even if they haven't? What can be done to fix this problem?

1 comment:

Miranda Brinkley said...

This seems to be a recurring problem as I think I've definitely heard of this type of scam ocurring more than once over the years. The man quoted makes a good point as well: it may sound dumb, but for a lot of citizens that have never had to deal with an organization like IRS or fines the pressure that the thieves put on these people could certainly cause them to give in, especially since the IRS doesn't have the most "rainbows and butterflies" reputation to begin with. The ability of the thieves to get away with something like this obviously reveals a lot more about people's perception about the IRS rather than the organization itself. Sounds like it sounds some serious PR help.