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A reader is both scared and suspicious after receiving an email.

Question: I got an email from the IRS saying I owe $29.12. The subject of the email was “IRS CP-2000,” and when I searched that online, I saw that this is a real thing. But it just looks so suspicious. It says I have 30 days to pay this amount or I could get audited or even arrested. So I need some help fast! It’s not a huge amount of money, but still, it’s MY money.

If Trump wins, no free college. In that case, I might wait longer to save up more money. So my question is: Should I wait until summer to sign up?

— Claire in Virginia

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Howard Dvorkin on how to get out of debt fastIt’s that time of year, when the weather turns and the IRS scams blossom. The most successful scammers add just a touch of truth to their lies — and this particular one is repeated each year because it’s based on a real IRS letter.

To keep it from getting complicated, the easiest way to explain it is in this short video…

Just to stress what’s at the end of the video: If you receive a suspicious IRS letter, go to the U.S. Treasury’s scam alert webpage to learn more. You can also call 800-366-4484 to report it. If you’re concerned about these scams in general, and about identity theft in particular, I suggest you read’s report on Identity Theft Basics.


Have a debt question?

Email your question to and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a  CPA, chairman of, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.

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Meet the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

CPA and Chairman

Dvorkin is the author of Credit Hell and Power Up and Chairman of

IRS, save money, scams

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