Many of today's scammers will ask you to make payment in the form of a pre-paid debit card or gift cards (such as iTunes or eBay). The scammer will instruct you to retrieve said card and call them back with the card numbers, giving them the money instantly.
IF ANYONE ASKS FOR YOUR PAYMENT/DONATION IN THIS MANNER, ASSUME IT IS A SCAM!
Scammers posing as IRS agents first targeted those they viewed as most vulnerable, such as older Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. These criminals have expanded their net and are now targeting virtually anyone.In a new variation, scammers alter what appears on your telephone caller ID to make it seem like they are with the IRS or another agency such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. They use fake names, titles and badge numbers. They use online resources to get your name, address and other details about your life to make the call sound official. They even go as far as copying official IRS letterhead for use in email or regular mail.Brazen scammers will even provide their victims with directions to the nearest bank or business where the victim can obtain a means of payment such as a debit card. And in another new variation of these scams, con artists may then provide an actual IRS address where the victim can mail a receipt for the payment — all in an attempt to make the scheme look official.The most common theme with these tricks seems to be fear. Scammers try to scare people into reacting immediately without taking a moment to think through what is actually happening.These scam artists often angrily threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation or other similarly unpleasant things. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls,” via phone or email. The emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a telephone number or email address for your reply.It is important to remember the official IRS website is IRS.gov. Taxpayers are urged not to be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. Taxpayers should never provide personal information, financial or otherwise, to suspicious websites or strangers calling out of the blue.Below are five things scammers often do that the real IRS would never do.The IRS will never:
Here’s what you should do if you think you’re the target of an IRS impersonation scam:
Although the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes is real, the odds of winning are one in millions, and non-existent if you didn't enter. In this scam, callers pose as a representative of PCH and inform the call recipient that they have won the PCH Sweepstakes, (amounts vary, sometimes they claim there is also an expensive car included as part of the prize, BUT they need an amount of money from you to "process" your winnings. SCAM!
PCH does not call winners of their sweepstakes and it is illegal to make anyone pay anything upfront to receive a prize. If you win the PCH Sweepstakes, they really do show up at your how with the giant check, balloons and TV cameras, just like in the commercials.
Some scammers are brazen enough to call and claim to be with your local Police Department of Sheriff's Office. They will tell the call recipient that there is a warrant for their arrest for missing court, jury duty, etc; and that they will arrest them if they don't give them an predetermined amount of money immediately. SCAM!
LEGITIMATE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS DO NOT CONDUCT BUSINESS IN THIS MANNER. YOU CANNOT BUY YOUR WAY OUT OF AN ARREST WARRANT.
The phantom debt collection scam comes in a number of variations, but the common element in almost all of them is a claim that a consumer owes money on a debt and needs to pay or else face serious consequences. Regardless of whether the consumer actually takes out a loan, he or she may receive a call later demanding money be paid.
Even for consumers who do not have outstanding debts, the con artists are threatening and convincing and have led some consumers to wonder whether someone has taken out loans in their name. In cases where a consumer actually does have outstanding loans, the scam artist may claim that the victim owes far more in fees and interest than he or she actually does. In other cases, the victim of the scam may be behind on a loan, but the caller has no authority to actually collect on the debt. No matter the consumer's actual situation, skilled con artists are convincing them to hand over precious cash to settle the "debt." Scammers often demand payment on these phantom debts via wire transfer, credit or debit card. SCAM!
In this scam, the callers are telling the receipients that they are with the Social Security Admistration Office and that their Social Security Number has been suspended because it was flagged as being used fraudulently elsewhere. This scam preys on the fears of Identity Theft and concerns about peoples Social Security Numbers being used by other individuals for criminal purposes. The caller will then want to verify your personal information to verify that you are the true recipient of the Social Security Number in question, by verifying you SS#, full name and date of birth (which gives the scammer your personal information). They may inquire for other information as well such as bank account info, etc. SCAM!
A Social Security Number is issued to every American citizen (usually at birth). It cannot be "suspended".
Cybercriminals don't just send fraudulent email messages. They might call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might also setup websites with persistent pop-ups displaying fake warning messages and a phone number to call and get the “issue” fixed. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. SCAM!
Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:
MICROSOFT DOES NOT CALL YOU ON THE PHONE.
Sadly, some scammers are even so low as to try to take advantage of tragedy. Events such as natural disasters or other highly publicized tragic event. These scammers call and present themselves as collecting money for the victims of those effected by these tragedies, preying on people's good nature and willingness to help their fellow man. SCAM!
• Be suspicious of solicitors requesting immediate donations. Don’t give in to high-pressure tactics. Be sure to take time to research the charity.
• Pay with care. Never give out credit card numbers over the phone. Avoid cash donations.
• Be wary of “new” charities with unverifiable background or contact information.
• Don’t be fooled by a name. Watch out for charities that use sympathetic-sounding names or names similar to well-known legitimate charities. Watch out for requests from fake “victims” or memorial social media accounts.