Do you have a Federal tax lien placed on your assets?
If you do you can expect contact by mail or phone from one or more tax relief hustlers that are currently scaring and victimizing the unfortunate throng of people who owe taxes to the Federal government or their state governments. We have seen a flood of unscrupulous mail that looks like official warnings and threats from the IRS and various state governments. They have headlines like- “Final Notice of Federal Tax Lien and Enforced Collection Activity”, and “FINAL NOTICE: U.S.C. Title 26 Section 7122-Tax Lien Notification” They also threaten that action against these people will be taken if they don't contact the sender of the mailpiece immediately.
THESE ARE NOT FROM THE IRS.
We have also heard from our clients that these hustlers have actually called them on the phone with some very official-sounding messages designed to scare them into working with the caller to remedy their tax debt situation.
This is terribly unfortunate.
Even people who should know better are getting duped by these deceitful firms and individuals.
I get calls in my office from scared and angry clients, both present and past. They want me to explain why the IRS is now after them when we supposedly already took care of their problem. They tell me that they just got a notification from the IRS and that they are threatening to take all of their money and property. I immediately have suspicions that they have received mail from a tax-relief scammer. I ask them to fax me the mail that they received and, sure enough, in every single case it is advertising mail disguised to look and sound like official mail from the Internal Revenue Service. It just makes me angry. And, when I explain what it is to my clients they also get angry even though they are relieved to hear that they are still in good stead with the IRS.
Why is this happening?
The answer is that there are a number of people out there that have discovered that it is easy to scare and victimize people who owe the IRS. People that owe the IRS are already deathly afraid of what the IRS is capable of doing to them. They know that the IRS can ruin their lives by taking their money and their property. And, despite being told otherwise, many tax debtors believe that they are going to go to prison just because they owe taxes. Of course, in most cases, this isn't even remotely true.
These bottom-feeders, purchase mailing lists of people who have had tax liens put on them by the IRS and their state tax departments. They buy these names and addresses by the thousands. Then they mail deceptive letters to these unsuspecting tax debtors.
Not only do these swindlers take advantage of the ever-present fear of the IRS, they also take advantage of your pocketbook. If you decide that you want to have them work for you they will quote you fairly nominal fees for their services. The problem is that once you have paid their initial fee, they want you to pay more and more before they do anything for you.
The worst is yet to come! In most cases, they will not do anything for you that will help you alleviate your tax problem.
All that these criminals want to do is take your money. They then file bankruptcy or disappear altogether leaving you to fend for yourself.
A large percentage of my tax collection practice as a lawyer includes clients that have already hired these scammers. They have paid them many thousands of dollars before they figured out that they weren't going to get any relief for their money. They then had to hire me to get them out of trouble. The money that they paid the scammers is usually gone as are the scammers.
Legitimate tax relief specialists do not send out the deceptive mail that these swindlers send. They also do not make cold calls to prospective clients. In fact it is not legal to do so. Lawyers, like myself, are bound by their various state ethics rules. One of the rules, in every state that I know of, is that a lawyer cannot solicit business by making cold calls or sending deceptive advertising to prospective clients.
So, beware and be careful.
BE A WARY AND INFORMED CONSUMER
If you get what looks like some official mail concerning a tax debt that you may have, take a close look. Make sure that the mail doesn't come from one of these scammers. If it is legitimate mail from the IRS, you will be able to tell. If you are in doubt, call me and we will be able to tell you what it is that you received.
Also, you should know that the Internal Revenue Service does not make phone calls to tax debtors out of the blue. Neither do legitimate tax practitioners. If there is any doubt about who is calling you, and there should always be a doubt, give us a call. We can help you figure it out.