If The Irs Calls Consider Hanging Up!

On August 3, 2014, The Desert Sun wrote about SCAMS and specifically discussed the IRS scam. Ironically I received such a call last week that made my fraud antenna immediately go up. The caller’s accent was very thick and he was not easily understood. I would think the IRS would employ those who would speak clearly as IRS matters are highly sensitive. I questioned the caller as I was suspicious and the caller replied, “Just hang up!” Being an attorney, I persisted to finally be told, “Hang up or you will be sorry.” Wow!

  • Please be mindful that there are many SCAMS going on every minute of the day. Following are only some of the attention getters, if you will, that I have encountered.

  • A caller may claim to be a preferred enforcement officer acting on behalf of the IRS, or say they are with the Palm Springs Police or Riverside County Sheriff. Sometimes even the caller ID confirms same. Note that he IRS does not call you, they send letters. If this happens to you call the IRS 800 829 1040 or forward their emails to phishing@IRS.gov.

  • People may claim to be a City official or with the Sheriff’s Department claiming such things as you missed Jury Duty and ask for money orders to correct same. They may request you to call back with the information on the back of the suggested money order you are requested to purchase, or ask you for a prepaid debit card. Don’t do it!

  • Sometimes the caller may even threaten you with Arrest, Deportation or the Suspension of your Business License or Driver’s License. Hang up!

  • They may also claim you won the lottery and they need your bank account information to wire you money. Too good to be true!

  • Other SCAMS in the greater Palm Springs neighborhood involve Rental Properties. Be wary of listings on Craigslist for rentals by owner or vacation rental by owner listings, as there have been many such scams recently. A red flag is when no phone number or email address is listed. In addition prospective renters may be asked to send money for a home rental during an event such as The Coachella Music Festival, and the home may not exist; may already rented to someone else or is not for rent. Do your due diligence!

  • When looking for a rental or to rent your home look carefully at the spelling and language in the AD as they are often prepared by people from outside of the USA. You may want to check 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. Do your due diligence!

  • Sometimes the scammer moves into the home and then complains that everything is not working and refuses to pay any rent. The renter then extorts money from the homeowner for the poorly maintained home and asks for $25-50,000 to vacate and not file a law suit. Do your due diligence!

  • Not only are there home scams, but there also Loan Scams as reported by KMIR in March. An example of a Loan Scam is where a person receives a call saying 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. Fraud alert!

These are only some of the SCAMS that are out there, and believe me I have been witness to and have been scammed myself once or twice. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!

Report FRAUD and potential ID thefts by contacting:
Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline 877 ID Theft/ www.consumer.gov/idtheft
Social Security hotline 800 269 0271/www.ssa.gov/oig

To 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.