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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 13, 2014 / 11 Adar II, 5774

To us, it's a scam; to him, it's a job

By Rekha Basu




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The calls started late last fall, around the time the Internal Revenue Service issued a warning about a sophisticated phone scam from IRS impersonators that targeted immigrants in particular. The callers, male and female, claimed to be IRS investigators. "The second you receive this message I need you or your retained attorney of record to return the call," they said. "The issue at hand is extremely time sensitive."

A fake name and badge number were given, along with a number to call and this ominous warning, "If you don't return the call and if I don't hear from your attorney either, then the only thing I can do is wish you good luck as the situation badly unfolds on you."

Last week, after having gotten five or six such messages, I called back. It was a Buffalo, N.Y., area code, but that means little, since the scammers apparently can access any area code by phoning over the Internet. The man who picked up answered to Ian Morgan. Like the other IRS imposters calling me with names like Mike Jones, Jason Miller and Jennifer Williams, he had an Indian accent. Being of Indian origin, I can tell.

He said an IRS audit showed my income was higher than what I had declared, accusing, "You tried to defraud the IRS." I asked him how much I had declared and what he thought my real income was, but he said he wasn't authorized to say. He gave me 45 minutes to have my attorney call him. I told him I didn't have one, and he'd have to deal with me.

"I'm not comfortable with you," he declared. I prodded him about his true motives, telling him I was a journalist - and it was surprising how fast "Ian Morgan" folded.

"I'm not working for the IRS," he finally admitted. He said he's Indian, in the final semester of his MBA, and earns $50,000 a month this way. He said there are thousands like him doing it all over the world, that it's been going on four or five years and no one has yet been arrested.

He wouldn't say where he was, but I could hear other Indian accents in the background, and at one point heard him speak Hindi to someone. He wouldn't say how he receives the money he extorts but said he doesn't take credit card numbers or checks. I later learned prepaid debit card numbers are common. Asked how he could justify what he does, "Ian Morgan" responded with a quote: "There is no nobility in poverty. I've been rich and I've been poor but I will choose rich every (expletive) time."

"Have you watched 'The Wolf of Wall Street'?" he asked then. "It's a good movie."

How far would he go, I asked. Would he kill for money? "We're not terrorists!" he said indignantly. Yet he would prey on poor, unsuspecting immigrants, I argued. Only rich people, he said. He obviously hadn't seen my tax return. He did concede that Asians may be targeting other Asians. But urging me not to disclose anything, he suggested "You're Asian. I'm Asian. Let's make a deal." That kinship sure mattered when he was trying to scam me.


At the real IRS hotline, employees receive many reports like mine from around the country. Christopher Miller, an IRS spokesman, said the agency would never contact people by phone. He doesn't know how many have lost money, but he said victims have been threatened with jail or deportation, loss of a driver's license or a business if they don't pay.

The scammers even tried to hit up Sgt. Vicki Lalla, the spokeswoman for the Iowa City Police Department. "Unfortunately they're very difficult to catch," she said, noting that people are trusting and could get intimidated "even if there's just a kernel of truth to what they're saying."

"Probably for every 1,000 people they call, three or four fall for it. But if they're calling tens of thousands ..."

My scammer blamed his victims, scoffing, "There are too many people who are stupid." He scoffed at me for being a journalist yet unaware of how big this operation is. I asked if his parents know he does this. No, and they wouldn't approve, he admitted. Does he feels guilty? "Yes, I do," he replied. In two months when he graduates, he plans to quit.

There have always been scams; the methods have just grown more sophisticated. Perhaps you wouldn't expect someone enterprising enough to be getting an MBA to be doing this. Then again, corruption and greed on Wall Street can look pretty sexy onscreen. My scammer even had the lines memorized.

Previously:




11/12/13: I don't need your tax credit
06/12/13: Obama duped us with same old tactics
05/15/13: Advice from the grads . . . to parents
02/20/13: Mourning the mail
01/16/13: Flu epidemic exposes gaps in sick-leave policies
12/26/12: Man-ufacturing mass-murders
11/21/12: We all pay for Thanksgiving Day shopping

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Rekha Basu is a columnist for the Des Moines Register.



© 2011, Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service

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