By Michael Piccione
My name is Michael Piccione. I am 22 years old, and I am a graduate of Brandeis University with a major in Economics. My plan is to continue my education this fall at the Brandeis University International Business School in their Masters of International Economics and Finance Program. My long-term career goal is to work either as a lawyer or as a financial consultant, to help people who do not have the most knowledge of finance prepare their savings and for retirement. I enjoy seeing those around me prosper and grow as individuals, and a key part of achieving those objectives comes from learning how to budget one’s money.
Unfortunately, my own savings have been compromised. I fell victim to a sophisticated fraud scheme, which cost me nearly $4000. This scam was the IRS impersonation scam, where criminals target unknowing people, claiming to be an IRS agent collecting money that is “owed”. They target the elderly, recent immigrants, and young adults and use scare tactics (threat of immediate arrest, deportation, foreclosure on home, etc.) to trick people into revealing information about their bank accounts and finances. Once they have this information, and once people realize that it is a scam, it is often too late. While this scam had just recently been in the news, it has not been as widely publicized as it should have been and I did not catch on until after the damage was done. You can read more about the scam here, which has claimed thousands of victims and cost people millions of dollars total: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/taxes/tax-impostor-scam-worse-ever-congress-holds-hearing-n341906
While I have notified the IRS of the scam, filed a police report, and contacted my bank, there is little that can be done at this point to retrieve my money. I intend to ensure, through educating those around me of this scam and others like it, to make sure that this never happens to anyone else that I know.
If you would like to help please click on the gofundme link. – GOFUNDME