They say “Forewarned is Forearmed!!!!” and “People Don’t Plan to Fail, They Fail to Plan.” So Plan Ahead and learn these current phone scams calls.
Ever since phones were invented there have been crooks trying to call and steal our money. What is new is the sheer volume of unsolicited calls, many Robo. There were over 29 billion in 2016 alone, by one estimate. It’s no wonder fraud complaints have increased nearly 60 percent since 2010.
A few months after we pay our taxes is high season for con artists to inundate the airwaves with robotic calls, many allegedly from the IRS. These contacts can come from phone calls, texts, emails and sometimes even an in person visit.
However, the IRS does not call or email and they certainly don’t appear without an appointment. The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by your postman.
Millions of robocalls, with recorded messages, only need to “snag” a few gullible “taxpayers” to make it worthwhile. These robo callers threaten in a loud voice, demanding an immediate payment or that you call a phone number. When you call you are then threatened if you don’t comply with payment via a credit card, Apple iTunes card, bank routing number or some other form of unorthodox payment, you will be arrested etc.
The caller may claim to be an IRS criminal investigator and threaten imminent arrest and order immediate payment of thousands of dollars in back taxes. Some are instructed to put $500 on multiple iTunes (or other) gift cards and provide the card code. Don’t be fooled. The IRS would never threaten or demand buying iTunes cards for any reason.
An example scenario: IRS: “You owe back taxes and will be arrested, fined and jailed, if you do not settle this NOW!” or an IRS notice: “This is a final notice from the IRS that we are filing a lawsuit for failure to XX. To get more info dial our dept # YY.” Workers in an India “Boiler Room” call center, pose as federal/state agents threatening the victims with a scripted message.
I too received several of these calls, where my phone register showed a call from Riverside Sheriffs, announcing they were on their way to arrest me for not paying taxes (or not appearing for jury duty). I nervously called my friend Stan Sniff, the Sheriff of Riverside County at the time, who assured me it was part of an elaborate scam.
The schemes have a scripted caller saying they were IRS, Immigration or Superior Court authorities calling re an outstanding (fictitious) fine; immigration warrant; bench warrant for not showing for jury duty or a phony tax debt. India call centers use personal information, illegally obtained, to scare the victim. US coconspirators launder the money using wire transfer and debit cards.
Some calls appear to come from various 800 numbers that when used appear to duplicate a public agency’s phone system on your phone register, in order to give the impression of credibility. Court personnel and the IRS, will never ask for personal information over the phone such as social security numbers, credit card accounts, or bank routing numbers. If you receive a phone call from someone making these claims and asking for personal or financial information, hang up and immediately report the situation to local law enforcement. Additional information related to telephone and email fraudulent activity is available on the FBI’s public website at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud
These cons prey upon the elderly and immigrants… in other words our neighbors. Phone scammers will say ANYTHING and push any button to get you to say yes. They will threaten, praise, act like the consummate expert or speak like your best pal – whatever it takes
If you paid for a product through one of these scam sites, report to your bank, credit card company and the sites below:
Inspector General 1-800-269-0271 or via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.
Fraud alert hotline: 855 303 9470 or http://www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline
FTC ID Theft Hotline 877 ID Theft/ http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft
SS hotline 800 269 0271/www.ssa.gov/oig
Equifax: 800 525 6285/ www.equifax.com
Experian: 888 397 3742/ www.experian.com
Transunion: 800 680 7289/ www.transunion.com