In today’s upside down economy, when so many people are taking steps to pay off any outstanding debt and gain control of their financial lives, the sharks are in the waters. Beware the scammers and bogus collection agencies. They will try to bully you out of your money and once they do then they’ll have enough information about you for more identity theft.
Below are selected portions of an experience one of our clients reported to us about an IRS scam that was popular in 2014.
•… Well I called that number and it was very upsetting, these people were telling me they are putting me in jail because they claim that I owed money to the IRS* from 2010. They were intimidating and I know without a doubt that I do not owe any money to the IRS, because I have not received anything from them…
•… I told them I may have $200, to which they said that was not good enough, and would be sending an officer to my house to take me to jail** and that if I was lying about how much was in my savings they would find out and make it worse for me…
•… So I did some investigating and I am not the only person they have called and threaten jail time, this has got to be a scam. I have reported them; they are calling from Saint Petersburg Florida. I looked up the number; maybe you could report them too.
There are several points to make here. 1, impersonating the IRS is a crime. 2, threatening jail time or threats of any kind to obtain repayment of a debt could very well be extortion. And 3, our client had the wherewithal to do her homework and trace the origin of the phone number online. Here is an example of where the so-called creditor could get him and the organization he works for in hot water.
Let’s say you receive a call from a creditor who seems like the real deal. If in fact you do owe the debt and agree to make payment arrangements, always get a copy of the agreement in writing prior to making any payments. Also be sure the agreement letter you receive matches the actual agreement you have with the creditor. Never give personal information over the phone unless you are absolutely certain the creditor is legitimate and that you do actually owe the money. If you in fact do owe it the creditor should be able to supply proof. (Like they should already have your social security number and date of birth) But even then, don’t just take their word for it but be certain. I once had a client who had the same first and last name as a neighbor one block away and believe it or not, their social security numbers differed by two digits. My client was receiving collections letters on a debt that belonged to someone else.