Vox article on trolling the IRS scammers, you know, the ones that call you up and tell you that you owe the IRS money and pay it now or they’ll send the police after you.
That’s how I ended up talking to “Steve Smith” for 30 minutes. He was a senior investigations officer — the actual person who walks you through how to send them money. I learned that his secret is maintaining an aura of authority. That’s how he optimizes fear. That’s how he gets people to suspend logic, drive to Walgreens, and buy iTunes gift cards to pay the IRS. The scam takes advantage of the most vulnerable people.