Monday, April 7, 2008

Legal Thriller Author Warns: Once Tax Season is over a Deadly New Tax Scam Awaits You

--Stop, Think, Before Reaching for that Unexpected Tax Refund--A Con Man's Deadly New Tax Scam Looms

"Hello, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Will Grabitall. I'm calling on behalf of the United States Internal Revenue Service, and I have good news for you." The voice you hear over your phone is firm but cheerful and reassuring. He continues,
"On a re-check of your 2007 tax return we find that you overpaid in the amount of $2,106.84. We will be sending you a refund check in this amount.. But first, I must have some verifying information."

In the 19th Century, con men were actually tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. After hearing a pitch like this you should immediately be thinking in terms of: Where's the tar and a chicken to skin?

This scam--a "phishing" expedition, designed only to wring vital personal information from you for identity theft purposes--is also conducted by the con man with email "notification" of such "good fortune."

You would be directed to--what appears to be--an official IRS web site. The bogus site contains interactive web pages and forms similar to those actually used by IRS. Only difference: they have been modified to elicit detailed financial and personal information from you. It's an elaborate dance by the con man. By now, if you don't recognize the Arthur Murray footprints on the floor, it's time for your medication.

At this point you must keep in mind that IRS never asks for any secret access numbers, such as passwords and PIN numbers--for bank, credit card, or other personal accounts over the phone or by email. You only get these requests in face-to-face audits.

So, how do you respond to Mr.. Grabitall?

How about this way?

"I'll be happy to provide you with full information, once I have verified all of this by contacting IRS myself."
Pause, while you listen to this con man's rejoinder, trying to talk you out of this course of action. Then, "No, no, that's quite alright, Mr. Grabitall. I prefer to do this checking myself. If you would be so good as to leave your phone number I will get back to you after I've done so. Thank you for your work on my behalf.

Don't expect to speak to this con man again. Ever. If you did bother to call back, by then he will have disappeared--back under his rock.

51 comments:

JafaBrit's Art said...

They always have new ways to con, shrug. such is life!

I would use my spare tar and feathers, but what a waste of potential art supplies ;)

Gene Kranik said...

I would personally make a special trip to the tar and feathers store, to buy an ample supply out of my own pocket for a guy like this.

Mancuso said...

I would do Gene one better. I would take ax in hand and split a rail to fit.

JafaBrit's Art said...

I wonder what their reaction would be if you just stated, err, I don't pay taxes LOL!

McAlee said...

I was hit up last year by some man on the phone who said he was from IRS and told me I had a $4,000 refund coming, which was about double what I expected. I didn't do anything but put him off. Now, I'm glad I did because it sounds like he was one of the scam guys you're talking about Jack.

Terry said...

From what I've heard this kind of con starts right after April 15...it's a kind of bonus for your big tax payment.

Dolcett said...

A friend of mine whose best friend is a gal who worked for IRS told him that this is one of the smoothest scams around, that the people promised bigger than expected tax refunds are especially vulnerable.

Jack Payne said...

I, too, would gladly supply the tar, feathers, and the rail out of my own pocket, Gene and Mancuso, to provide a test case of one of the most egregious proponents of this sort of scam.

Simply stating, "I don't pay taxes," certainly might make the con man stop and think, eh, Jafabrit?

You should have reported the incident, McAlee. Only way to stop these people is to be very alert about turning them in.

Yes, Terry, these people usually kick quickly into gear each year, shortly after April 15.

Dolcett, you are correct. This is one of the most lucrative scams around, and is usually a smooth operation. They play on taxpayer greed to collect every last cent they can from IRS.

Earl T. Clydson said...

Hindsight is great. I've heard of several people who have come up against scams having to do with IRS. But the story seems to be usiversal, either they got taken or stalled the thing off until it disappeared. Hard to figure just what to do to fight this sort of thing.

Dee said...

Keep these posts coming Jack. I send the url to my mom who is retired in the US. Hey I love the headline by the way, you Legal Thriller Author you.

Warren M said...

There is such a big variety of tax scams, but this is evidently the best because it promises instant cash back. This would be hard to resist, I mean the temptation of it.

sharyn said...

it's a shame all the stuff sent in the mail, emailed, and the phone calls. i've been rude to phone calls from our accountant and from credit car companies checking on my accountant for my benefit. con folks are the worst to get rid of, they have any answer for everything, so i will try your advise and let you know how it goes mr wiseman payne.

Schrieber said...

Your usual laser thrust treatment, Jack. You are always so pin-point.
Few questions to ask after reading your blog.

By the way, I finally got around to reading Six Hours Past Thursday. It took me six months to get to it, but I finished it three weeks ago. Talk about impact, no novel I've ever read has stayed with me like this one. I still think about it every day.
This is the psychological thriller to end all psychological thrillers.

Jack Payne said...

Great that you're trying to provide your mother with my propaganda, Dee. BTW, what are you doing in Jamaica, anyway? You seem so U.S.A.-legal-field-oriented.

"Mr. Wiseman?" Aw, c'mon, Sharyn. I'm considerably your elder. You've got to show me a little more respect. If you keep sassing me like that, I'm going to have to take away your shoes.

Thanks for the compliment on my book, Norm. Six Hours Past Thursday is the pride of my life, far and away the best work I've ever done. Coming from a guy like you, what with all that you have accomplished in life, this is the compliment to end all compliments, really something special.

Terry said...

I keep checking back to read the comments. I thought that because this is right before the tax deadline, there would be a ton of them to read. But I see you've got about the same number of comments as usual. This is a little surprising. I thought there would be a real uptick in interest.

Ekim said...

Oh I feel free to tell them that my name is Ron Ursumschit and My social security number is 4.
I normally have to spell my last name, it's a tough one.

L.W. Tolling said...

I believe the altering of the IRS stats on the Internet is a comparatively new wrinkle.

Jack Payne said...

It's picking up, Terry.

Yeah, Ekim, a social security number of 4 should squirrel their brains, huh?

Haven't heard of fudging the IRS web site stats as being part of the scam until this year, L.W.--although it may have been in previous years and I just missed it.

Kathleen said...

Thanks Jack,
I will spread the word to my friends too!

Oh, by the way, I work for the IRS and need to call you about something - honest.

Kathleen

Dee said...

I like how Kathleen said "honest" at the end.

USA is the hot market for exciting legal issues, changes and of course scams Jack. But the weather here is great.

Ione Hesber said...

I can't understand why there is not a big FBI crackdown on this sort of thing. This is a clear federal crime.

A. Assanti said...

The grasping reach of so many people who know damn well they don't have this big a rebate coming is the snare that projects this scam and gives it life.

Tamera said...

This was a great post, Jack! Thanks for the heads up.

Terry said...

This sounds like one of the slicker scams around...what have you got coming up, Jack?

Jack Payne said...

Do spread the word, Kathleen. Right after April 15 this con will probably pop up in a bold way.

Dee, we've got warm weather in this country too. Try Florida. I still say your legal talents seem like a natural "fit" for American courts.

The only big crackdowns you see coming out of the FBI these days, Ione, are crackdowns on terrorist activities. They're preoccupied.

Tamera and Terry, stand by. I've got a blog piece coming up (next couple of weeks) that I call the "Perfect Scam." You think this tax refund thing is slick, wait till you see this one on Employee Leasing. It'll knock your eye out for slickness.

Tamera said...

Schrieber. I agree. Jack's book, and especially the ending haunted me for weeks. I couldn't believe it!

See, Jack? Everyone that has read it would definitely call it a psychological thriller. No doubt.

Everyone else should read it as well!!

Terry said...

I read Six Hours Past Thursday too, Jack. I think that's why I am such a slave to your blog. Writers who write with such clarity and power...both...fascinate me.

tAnYeTTa said...

this is horrible that people would do this!

thank you for the heads up!

Dee said...

Jack I'm definitely getting your book.

Florida. Yes that the northest my mom would go. Maybe if they'd outsource to me Jack. Outsourcing is eating away your associates jobs.

Warren M said...

Only three days left to tax deadline and counting. The closer we get the more I fret about all the tax scams coming up. I do think this one that you point out could be especially bad beccause it will be most tempting to a lot of people.

RainforestRobin said...

Wow! It's wild what people will do. It is good to have a place like this to go and learn about some of these scams. I will be back to read more. It looks like good information. Thank you.

Warmer said...

From my vantage point this is a real tell tale portrait of how a good scam would work. This is scamology at its best, I would think.

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I am glad that you write this info. because sometimes I think I could be scammed and you are keeping me on my feet! I never think of these things.
By the way, your comments on my blog are very helpful to my readers. You really know what you are talking about and I appreciate it!

Mr. Shife said...

I am with Gene. I will help pay for the tar and feathers for guys like Mr. Grabitall.

Barbie said...

I always had a laugh when I get this type of letter,for sure the first sign is the return address used for this,I never had a call, even if I did everyone should know that the IRS does not ask for info on the phone.
and as far as receiving unwanted scam e-mail I copy and paste a name out of the letter throw it in my browser and copy and past about 3-4 scam notices related to the name key words I used
,
I add the results and paste this in the return e-mail,

Sapier said...

In reading the comments here I can only admire the cohesiveness of thinking that surrounds this scam. This article seems to have inspired some deep and profound thought, albeit all in one direction.

Anonymous said...

I dont and never dignify these calls, I know a scam when I see or hear one .

Jack Payne said...

Yes, Robin, and all you other good people out there, hanging on this comments thread, the extent these vermin will go to--to defraud, steal, and outrightly rape your bank account--is truly unbelievable. There are, really, no barriers at all.

Some good tricks you appear to have there, Barbie. Thanks for sharing.

The Aphasia Decoder.... said...

It's amazing the number of scams that keep popping up and even more amazing that people still fall for them.

Stan.Evers said...

This whole thing just floors me. How can the society get so loose that they can permit con men to step in and offer money right out of the national treasury? I would think this should make the Feds so mad that they would move heaven and earth to bring these people to justice.

Ariel J said...

I would tell them I don't pay taxes. If they didn't believe that I would tell them my social security number is 99. And, if they still didn't believe that I would tell them the call was being traced and the FBI would be on the way.

Anonymous said...

Some great characters Jack.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practise anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)

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