Most people hang up on robocalls from charities. If there is a real person, I ask them to go into their spiel and then set the phone down, letting the caller waste a minute or two of their time.
William P. Barrett, writing at New To Seattle, actually takes those calls. He then dissects the charity’s financial statements showing the minimal amount of charity taking place in some organizations.
To the repeat offenders he awards the title of “America’s Stupidest Charities.”
(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because the accountants reading this blog will find this story just as funny as I did.)
You probably know scammers have a new scheme of falsely claiming to be from the IRS. Their spiel is you’re just about to be arrested for failing to pay back taxes, the police are on the way to your home, but you can avoid going to jail today by settling up right now by sending money on a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
Mr. Barrett called back to the number provided in a robocall. The person answering spoke poor English and sounded like he was calling from a boiler room.
He describes the call in his post, Scammers invoking the IRS inundate Seattle.
How did that conversation go? Quite entertainingly.
Even though there was a fresh indictment (supposedly), a subpoena and summons were in the mail. Laugh point: subpoenas are used to gather information in advance of bringing charges and summons are things used to get you into court for minor issues.
Mr. Barrett asked why he was getting a subpoena, since those aren’t given to someone who was just charged. Laugh point: in addition to the obvious foolishness, the ‘agent’ had no explanation.
The amount of tax evasion? Sixty-eight grand over three years. Laugh point: let’s assume a 25% tax rate which would make that 100 grand of evaded income in each of three years. Most people would laugh after realizing this silliness of claiming they underreported income by something in the range of $300,000.
Where was the case filed? Washington DC. Mr. Barrett pointed out cases are brought where a person lives currently or where the taxes should have been filed. He has never lived in Washington DC. Laugh point: that went way over the “agent’s” head.
Who brought the charges? The IRS actually filed the charges in court, not the Department of Justice. Umm, I don’t think so.
Jurisdictional issues are way over the head of the scammers. Last week another scammer told Mr. Barrett the IRS filed the criminal charges in the U.S. Tax Court. Two-fer laugh point: Tax Court handles civil cases and no tax dispute starts in Tax Court.
Mr. Barrett laughed at an explanation why a Criminal Investigation Division agent supposedly located in Syracuse New York, which is the area code for the callback number, would be handling a case filed in Washington against someone living in Seattle.
The “agent” hung up after getting laughed at. Finally dawned on him this call wasn’t going anywhere. Laugh point: an astute scammer would have hung up far earlier after realizing the questions showed the mark wasn’t believing anything.
Mr. Barrett was able to hold his laughter far longer than I would have.
If you need some more entertainment at the expense of scammers, check out the full article.
P.S. Yes, I actually find this funny. Feel free to pray for me.