3.01.2008

Get ready for calls from your parents...

If your parents are anything like mine, you are the single source of all information regarding anything that might have at some point - or might ever at ANY point - have been on the internet or generated by a computer. You're also the solution to any crazy email forwards regarding scams and fake do-not-call lists for your cellphone that actually harvest your number instead of block it from telemarketers.

If that is the case, get ready to hear from them again regarding a new letter from the IRS that's about to go out. Yes, the one that's ACTUALLY coming from the IRS is great news - you're going to get a short-sighted and ill-conceived tax rebate to go dump on consumer goods (probably in the form of a down payment on a MUCH larger purchase requiring your credit cards) to help boost a fledgling economy, etcetera and so forth. But that's not the letter I'm referring to.

It strikes me as obvious that broadcasting across every major news avenue that there's a letter to be looking for from the IRS might just be a bad idea. Why?

Well, let's say that, for instance, I wasn't a silly and pathetic internet writer boy hiding out in my little mancave writing stories about my ridiculous past and, instead, I used the power of TextEdit to pull scams. And let's say it's been a particularly dry month, and my creativity has waned a bit. And let's say I was watching CNN or Fox or MSNBC or any of the other "news" agencies out there and someone said "Hey, everyone in America! There's going to be a letter coming your way, and it's great news, and you should be on the lookout for it. It's from the IRS, an organization you have absolutely no trouble giving your personal information to each and every year. And it's going to be about a bunch of money you will be getting. Isn't that great?"

Well, if I'm a scammer with writer's block, it's fucking terrific news, because my creativity just came back. All I have to do is knock out a couple thousand fake letters on fake IRS letterhead talking about the rebate that's coming your way, and ask you to send me some followup information to make sure that the huge bureaucracy that is the IRS has got it correct. Give you a PO Box in Washington, DC that took me 12 minutes to register for online as the return address. Sit back and collect all the identities I want.

I dunno, maybe I'm just malevolent. Maybe this isn't a risk at all. Maybe I just need some sun and some vitamins.