Police in India recently conducted a raid at nine call centers in the India capital of Mumbai. They talked to 770 employees and ended up charging 70 with fraud, wrongful impersonation and violating the country’s Internet safety law, Rama Lakshmi reported from the Washington Post’s India bureau.
And here’s an eye-popping figure on how much they were able to con people.
The calls centers were raking in more than $150,000 a day.
Lakshmi, with additional reporting by The Post’s Jonnelle Marte, said callers told American victims that that IRS had conducted “tax revision” or that they had defaulted on tax payments. Once they got people to reveal their bank information they took money out of their accounts.
Please don’t fall for this scam. And help others not become victims, too. Talk about it and share what you know. Here are some of my columns with tips to avoid being bilked:
— Just hang up on phone scammers
Financial favoritism by parents
I’ve written a few columns recently addressing the issue of parents leaving an inheritance to their adult children.
As I wrote in one column this week, people who get angry over not inheriting what they feel is just. (The caveat is when a parent purposefully aims to punish or discriminate in a will.)
I’d like to here about your experiences. First read these columns:
Answer the Color of Money Question of the Week
Did your parents favoritism leaving an inheritance that wasn’t divided equally among the siblings, and how did it turn out? Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city and state.
Live Chat today
Join me live today at noon (ET) for my weekly talk about your money. So what money issues are on your mind?
To participate in the chat click this link.
Trump and taxes
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has bragged that he was “smart” in not having paid income taxes. So last week’s Color of Money Question of the Week was: Is income tax avoidance smart or shady?
Here are some of what you had to say:
“Smart on their part, as long as they keep it legal,” wrote Alex Martelli, Sunnyvale, Calif. “Shady on the part of the system, which makes the tax code so incredibly convoluted as to make the existence of exploitable loopholes inevitable. Such loopholes aren’t just ‘stupid’ they’re ‘shady’ because they were designed into the absurdly complicated tax code to please a tiny but generous constituency of the representatives and senators. Our tax system needs such a huge reset.”
Jon Medved of Colorado Springs turned the question around, writing, “Is it smart or shady for middle class people to take advantage of the tax code to pay as little income tax as possible? How many people who itemize their taxes don’t take the mortgage deduction, how many don’t take their charitable deductions? You can be sure it is virtually none.”
Robert Vessels of LaGrange, Ky., wrote: “The problem with rich folks not paying taxes by taking advantage of the tax code lies not with the ‘rich folks’ but with the representatives of ‘the people,’ who are responsible for writing the tax code.
“The law is the law,” wrote Jodie McGaughey of Abilene, Tex. “In my opinion, we definitely need tax reform to eliminate special interest deductions (all deductions, by the way, are special interests if you think about it).”
Larry Nagengast of Wilmington, Del., saw it both ways, writing, “It’s smart to claim every possible legitimate deduction, and I can’t fault Donald Trump or anyone else for that. But there should be a ‘fair share,’ a sort of minimum tax that everyone above a specified income level should be required to pay. I don’t know how you might compute it, but it wouldn’t hurt to start by saying that anyone with gross income (before any deductions or credits) in excess of $1 million could not deduct any more than 75 to 80 percent of that amount in a single tax year. It’s shady for lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to press the case with Congress for an ever-increasing number of credits and deductions that primarily benefit corporations and the wealthy. Instead of simplifying the IRS Code, all we ever seem to see are new deductions and credits.”
Kevin White of Columbia, Md., wrote: “No citizen is obligated to pay one cent more in taxes than is required by law. (Granted, many of our tax laws are ambiguous, thus leaving what is and is not legal open to interpretation.) Paying your exact tax liability is not shady–you are simply following the law. Congress was shady when they created tax laws that favor one citizen or entity over another.
Financial news you can use
Retirement columnist Rodney Brooks Monday newsletter this week: Is the 4 percent rule still relevant for retirees?
What’s the 4 percent rule?
As Brook writes: “The rule was created in the mid-1990s by a now-retired financial planner to keep people from outliving their retirement nest eggs. Here’s how it works: If you have a nest egg of $1 million, you should draw down no more than 4 percent, or $40,000 a year.”
And the $1 million question: Does this rule still apply today in this economy?
Read the newsletter to find out.
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or email@example.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business. Follow @SingletaryM