IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam

by Glen Palo on March 16, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail

Other characteristics of this scam include:

.Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
.Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
.Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
.Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
.Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
.After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

.If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
.If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
.If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov.

More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.

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Little Known Email Advertising Tips

by Glen Palo on February 17, 2014

I read lots of email advertising everyday. I have seen some great email ads with some unique formats, but the vast majority of email ads could use major work. The following email advertising tips, in no particular order, are some quick fixes that should increase your email advertising response rates.

1. Always add your first and last name in your signature block. There are many Bobs, Sharons, Bills, among others advertising by email. Adding your last name is important in identifying YOU and creating your personal brand.

2. The body of your email ad copy should not be any more than 60 characters wide (preferably 55). Add line breaks if you must. I use a 60 character ‘map’ like this:

123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890

A 55-character wide email keeps the copy appearance tight and the readers’ eyes focused on one side of the page.  Ad copy that extends to the far right side of the screen appears sloppy and unprofessional. It also makes the ad copy harder to read when it goes across the page.

3. Use sentence case when writing; minimize the use of all capitalized words. Occasionally capitalize SOME words for EMPHASIS.

4. If you use a safelist mailer that sends all email in text format, then add a line above your salutation and below your postscript. Use special characters like (-, _, +, =) to create a line. This will separate your email from ads, links or comments the safelist admin includes in the email.

5. If you still insist on writing a long sales letter as your email, then include a link to the Sign/Join page or order form and not a splash page or another sales page. If the reader has decided to click your link after reading a long email, the reader probably has made up his mind to join or buy your
product. He does not need to read another sales pitch.

Give these tips a try.  Split-test them with your usual style to see if they make a difference in your email advertising response rates.

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Quick Goals for 2014

by Glen Palo on December 30, 2013

Here is a quick game plan from my friends at ClickTrackProfit for you to start your 2014 off on the right foot;

1 – Write down your goals! What do you want to accomplish in 2014? You will be amazed if you +1 everyday, what you can accomplish at the end of the year.

2 – Plan to show up. Everyday! Nothing breeds more failure in this business than people who go all in for a short amount of time and then give up. This is a marathon and you need to have the stamina to keep going. We win this by showing up everyday!

3 – Start to invest in YOU! This means you will have to spend money on your business and yourself. It is not a pretty answer, but there is a reason why those that take action see results!

And finally… Have fun! While 2014 will be about action taking, the most important thing is that you enjoy what you do. We will be here, along with the entire CTP community to help you on your way…but it all starts with you!

Have a wonderful new year and we will see you in 2014!

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