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A Short Christmas Interview with Jerry
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"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and ask where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your soul."
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

"It Looks Real Enough"

dollarbillBy Jerry Stewart - Vision Productions    There are some stories that when you hear them you say, "Nu-u, that's not true!" Now I used to say that a lot - especially when it comes to schemes and scams. 

    It seems that if a person took just two minutes to think through a situation, that they would surely smell a rat.    

    But there's one scam I've been hearing about now for maybe two years that I thought could never fool me.  Well let me tell you what happened last week.   

    A client of mine came into the office for his annual tax appointment.  In the course of our discussion he said that the IRS had recently notified him that he had a tax refund coming back, but they need some information.  I asked to see the notice and, there it was - a very official letter from the IRS - the United States Department of the Treasury. It had the official IRS logo on the top; it even had the eagle stamped right on it.   

    When I read the notice it said, "After the last annual calculation of your physical activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $89.70.  Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6 to 11 days in order to process it."    

    It went on to talk about the deadline to apply for the refund; it was even signed by the IRS.    

    But here's where the bad smell began to rise up.  First, the notice was an e-mail, not a letter, and it had a spot on the e-mail marked "click here".  I asked my client if he did click on the e-mail and he said "yes", and what came up was a short information request for his name, his address, his social security number, and, get this, it even asked for his bank account number so the refund could be deposited directly into his account - Yeah, when donkeys fly!  This was a huge scam to steal money from that man! 

     Now, even with all my years of financial knowledge and experience, at first I didn't pick up that it was all a clever scam.   

    And did my client give all the information requested?  He told me that he almost did, but instead he decided that he would talk with me first - but he did almost filled it out.   

    Wow, how easy it is to be scammed and cheated when you least expect it.  And people will even use the IRS, they're even willing to steal their exact logo, to make their devious despicable plan truly work.    

    So what advice can I give you right now?  Here it is in a nutshell -   the IRS never, never, never sends e-mails; so if you get an e-mail from the IRS it is a scam. 

   Until next time, don't forget - "It's Your Money!