Be aware of scams in everyday life

We’ve all heard about scams.

They plague us daily in one form or another. Whether it’s another envelope from the sweepstakes company claiming you could win a million dollars a week for life, or an email from some Prince in India who wants to marry you and give you his millions in riches.

It’s the banner on a website that flashes at you constantly, saying that you are the 1000th viewer and you are a winner. Do you click it, or do you ignore it?

Scams come in all forms, there are no set standards, that’s for sure.

Mesquite has seen its share of scams from shady businesses to deceitful parents trying to make extra money.

Identifying the scams takes some observation and time. Most of all, it takes a lot of common sense.

I received a call from my tax company last week, wanting me to come by and talk about some news he wanted to get out to all of you about a renewed scam passing through Utah at the moment.

Thousands of people are being called by a supposed IRS worker, claiming that they owe money to the IRS and the local authorities are on their way to come get them.

The callers are giving information that may seem very legitimate, such as ‘badge’ numbers, as you might expect from an IRS employee. They happen to have some information that you might not realize is very public. But the numbers they come up with as you ‘owing’ the IRS for back taxes is very made-up.

Other reports go so far as to say that the caller ID of these scam calls even show as coming from the Treasury Department. However, if you look at the number closer, the area code is in a completely different state.

The caller/scammer explains that there are X amount of dollars that are owed to the IRS by you, and after many failed attempts of contacting you, they are going to take immediate action against you. My tax preparer’s example was that the caller threatens that the sheriff is on his way ‘right now!’ and you will be prosecuted. They will say anything to put you into a panic, so that you don’t think as rationally and smart as needed to avoid their ploys.

The bottom line in life, however, is that common sense and proper questioning is needed to insure that the best decision is made.

Know this – the IRS does not call you. They will notify you by mail if there is a problem with your tax records. That’s what you need to know.

If you do, however, receive one of these calls, take note of the identifying information on your caller ID. NEVER give any of your personal information out over the phone to someone you did not initiate contact with. Tools can be used by these callers that show they are calling from one place, when in reality, they are actually calling from another place. Better to be safe than sorry.

Make sure you take any information you obtain from one of these calls to your tax preparer first, then to the police. If the preparer verifies that it is a scam, the police will be able to file the proper reports to the appropriate authorities to hopefully detain the criminals who have already swindled millions from Americans everywhere.

Think before you leap… it just might be the best thing you’ll ever do.

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