A traffic light, a cartoon character, a hotdog: the options for Halloween costumes are endless, really. You simply have to use your noodle. Costumes and impersonations make sense at Halloween, but what about the rest of the year? According to PortChesterPatch.com one man thought he was being real clever by posing as an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee as part of a tax fraud and identity theft scheme.

The article reported that the man from Yonkers (sounds like bonkers to me) pleaded guilty to allegations that he prepared false income tax returns in his name, and in the names of other people. In one particular filing, the defendant reported that his income in 2006 was $783,981 and that his employers had withheld $359,750.

While posing as an employee of the New York State Department of Labor, he allegedly persuaded a taxpayer to tell him their name, date of birth, and Social Security number. He also apparently posed as a female IRS worker. (So he posed as a female IRS agent? Wouldn’t that just make the deceit WAY harder? Maybe he wanted to be an actor when he was a kid.) The man’s sentencing is scheduled for October 30, where he faces a maximum term of 34 years of incarceration.

As proved by many social experiments over the years, humans respond to authority figures. If someone dressed in a lab coat is enough to make you deliver electric shocks to a stranger, imagine what you would do if an “IRS agent” showed up at your door. It’s frightening to think, but this Fraud of the Day’s lesson goes out to the individual: be wary of who you give your personal information to! If someone wants to know your Social Security number, they better have a really good reason for it.

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