Gift cards for the IRS? Probably not!

If an IRS agent calls you at home or office and asks you to send him or her a gift card, don’t do it! Even if you owe money, that is not the correct (or legal) way to get back in Uncle Sam’s good graces!

By the same token if someone from a nature fund or a save-the-kittens group asks for a donation, check them out BEFORE you send a check.

When a company advertises it can reduce your tax bill by tens of thousands of dollars put a cold cloth on your head and lie down until the urge to respond is gone.

All of the above, plus some things you wouldn’t dream up, are part of the IRS’s Dirty Dozen list. It’s part of the agency’s effort to protect taxpayers, tax preparers and corporations from scams ranging from the incredibly stupid to brilliant. All designed to take you for all they can get. Even if it’s all you got!

And if you think some of the long-distance scams you see on the Dr. Phil show: She (or he) wires money to soulmate they’ve never met so they can pay kidnapper’s ransom, get their mother a new body part, or repay a small debt to free millions of dollars from frozen account. The fact is it happens every day. Sometimes to otherwise savvy people. Like you, maybe?

So what are the scams and schemes on the Dirty Dozen list? Could you spot them? Or have you ever been had?

To talk about the ploys used to trick people we’ll be talking to tax attorney Tom O’Rourke. He’s a former IRS attorney, and he’s my guest today on our Your Turn radio show.