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For example, older women who live alone tend to be more vulnerable to confidence scams in which someone promises a large sum of money for a small fee (a fee that grows as the target is drawn in).
Educated middle-aged Caucasian men who identify as financially literate tend to be vulnerable to investment frauds.
For me, it made the chance of losing $5,347 seem a trivial risk in comparison to the possibility that I had unwittingly brought trouble on myself that could land me in jail.
So I kept taking this call seriously until it was absolutely clear to me it was not.
“These guys,” she says, “are very good.” Unlike most scams that attempt to trigger the desire for gain, the IRS scam rests on something more deeply hardwired in the brain — the fear of loss, which Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and others have found, is a twice as powerful motivator.
And fear of the loss of personal freedom is one of the most powerful fears there is.
You will be arrested within the next two hours and held in custody for six months pending an investigation.” And just like that, I was caught in what has become the biggest tax scam in American history. If I owed back taxes, I would pay back taxes.” He paused and asked, “Can you tell me truthfully you have the intention to pay any taxes you owe? He said he could transfer me to another unit that might be able to help. (It sounded ridiculous but I wasn’t quibbling.) A moment later, another man came on the line, identifying himself as Investigator Duane Maguire. They are trying to trace your location to make the arrest. Just don’t pick it up.” He then explained what I would have to do to avoid being arrested. I told him I had to pick up my son from baseball practice. Since the IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam began in 2013, it has targeted more than 400,000 Americans.