By Linda E Bauer
Three weeks ago I started receiving threatening phone calls from the IRS. I got one every other day, it seemed, and the callers were relentless. I was told that I owed them a significant amount of money and that if I did not return the call, I would be arrested!
You can imagine what went through my head! It was a moment of gut wrenching fear, panic...at first. I soon realized that this is a total scam. The IRS will always, without a doubt, contact anyone in writing first. There is no exception to this, none. The voice was very matter of fact. He really sounded official, except for the foreign accent. I was convinced for a minute that I might have been negligent. Had I been negligent?
Herein lies the problem. These scammers rely heavily on our fears and those electrifying emotions we have. We then begin to doubt. It only takes a window of opportunity for them to get in and dig deep into our doubts, playing on our fears. They then begin to dig into our pockets.
My biggest concern with this is there are many good people who are in an unstable position. Whether because of advanced age or because they are going through difficult emotional times, they can more easily fall victim to these parasites. The number of scams is continually growing with ever changing strategies, to take advantage of our family, friends, and neighbors.
I saw a report on this last night on the local news, which prompted me to put my own experience in writing. If I, as a financial professional, can be unsettled even for a brief moment, then how simple might it be for the perpetrators of such scams to take advantage of your parents, your neighbor, or your friend who is recently widowed?