The first step in protecting against phone scams is understanding how they work. That’s why in this series, we’re breaking down some of the newest and most popular phone scams circulating among businesses and consumers.
Ah, tax day. The chore of rounding up your W-2’s and taking them to your accountant to look over has come. Luckily this year you don’t owe too much. Your write your check, mail it off, and you’re done.
A day or two later you get a call from the IRS. Your accountant messed up and instead of a couple hundred, you owe a couple thousand. If you don’t pay right now over the phone there will be a warrant out for your arrest. You quickly run to your wallet to pull out your card and give the number to the man on the phone. Thank goodness the IRS was able to take your payment over the phone so easily.
Here’s What Really Happened
Wait, the IRS can just call you asking for payment over the phone? Absolutely not. In this consumer scam, attackers are calling all sorts of people who inevitably just finished their taxes. Using scare tactics and threats, these fraudsters can convince victims they are in fact a representative of the Internal Revenue Services to get large sums of money quickly.
- Reconnaissance – These scammers can easily look up phone numbers via the Internet, Facebook, or other social sites. This method is easy for fraudsters with high payoff.
- Intimidation – Using scare tactics, forceful language, and involving the cops in an effort to spook consumers is an effective means of getting someone to pay up phony amounts.
- Card-Not-Present Fraud – Now that you’ve given your credit card information to a scammer, they can now rack up charges using your card number beyond the fraudulent tax charges.
The IRS Scam in the News
Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts The IRS has released statements warning consumers of several different IRS impersonation scams
IRS Phone Scammers are Steal Millions from Victims As this scam spreads throughout the United States, millions are being taken from unsuspecting victims
Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call The IRS has tips to spot and avoid this scam