Beware of the Newest IRS Scam: What to Tell Clients
Have you heard about the new high-level telephone scam targeting taxpayers and making the rounds all over the country?
The callers say they are IRS employees, but of course, they are not. The scammers use fake names and false identification to convince consumers that they're the real deal since they make the caller ID to show IRS. They even know a lot about a citizen on the other end of the line.
The con artist tells victims that they owe money to the federal agency and demand that it be paid promptly through a wire transfer or a pre-loaded debit card. If a target refuses, they receive threats like an arrest or suspension of a driver's license. The con artist becomes hostile and insulting. Some victims hear the promise of a refund to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone goes unanswered, the scammer leaves an "urgent" callback.
Other ways the scam works is to send a false IRS form (CP 2000) and claim that the income reported on the return does not match the income stated by an employer or even Social Security. The con artist claims this has to do with the Affordable Care Act. They hope to worry and confuse you and make you feel vulnerable. They'll follow-up with emails with attached forms, text messages, and more calls in hopes to scare you. The scammers want to retrieve your Social Security number, date of birth, and other personal data to use and steal your identity. They will offer a fake "protection plan" to get your credit card number.
Please remember - the IRS will never contact you to collect overdue taxes by an email, text message, or a phone call. Other things the IRS will never do:
- Call and require instant payment. The IRS will never make you buy a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The federal agency will mail the bill if you owe taxes.
- The IRS will never threaten to call local authorities and the police to arrest you for the outstanding debt.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Get a credit or debit card number over the phone.
If you receive an email, text messages, mail or even live calls concerning money you owe, do not respond. Just hang up the telephone. If you get a "CP 2000" form in the mail, call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 to confirm it is a scam. The federal agency saw close to 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents in the 2016 tax season, so beware.
If you click on the link that's in the email, it leads you to a website designed to emulate the official-looking IRS.gov website. While at the fake site, they ask for your Social Security number and more personal data and use the information to file a false tax return. The fake website may carry malware, which infects the citizen's computer to allow the con artist to access private archives or track keystrokes to gain information.
The threat remains high, but variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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