Pregnancy is a wonderful time full of hopes for the future. It is also, however, a time of some worry as families make sure they have everything they need for the coming baby. Pregnant women are experiencing a wide range of hormonally charged emotions, and can be particularly sensitive to various triggers.
So when Sarah Carr, 3 weeks from her due date, received a phone call threatening jail, she was distressed to say the least. She immediately called the number she was given, only to spiral further into despair and fear. Despite her tears, the man continued to threaten her with jail time if she did not clear up her past tax evasion. But then, inexplicably, when she reveals her pregnancy, he stopped in his tracks. He immediately backed out of the call, explaining that it was a scam and not to send them any money.
Although Carr narrowly escaped becoming a victim, many are not so lucky. According to Daily Mail, over 3000 people have fallen victim to this most recent scam tactic, one reportedly losing over $500,000. Although two people have been arrested in connection with the tax scam, Tim Camus, a Treasury deputy inspector general for tax administration, believes that there are multiple networks that are targeting victims using the same tactic. This scam also becomes more prolific as we draw nearer to the filing deadline.
The details may vary, but the typical scam mechanism works as follows. You receive a phone call from the IRS notifying you that you have been found conducting tax fraud. You may be given a separate number to call to find a way to settle the agreement. You are then directed to send money via prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may have access to personal information, details about your properties, and will always apply pressure to pay under threat of arrest.
If you are really being contacted by the IRS, they will do so only by mail, and will never request payment by wire transfer. I personally have not been contacted by these scam artists, but know two people who have. In each case, the callers were skilled enough to completely rattle my friends. Even after looking up evidence that the call was indeed a scam, one continued to worry that she was making the wrong decision by ignoring the call.
Please be aware of this new scam, and any others that demand immediate payment. Have you been called by these scammers? Tell us your stories in our comments section.