BEWARE: Here's How to Protect Yourself From "Spam" Robocallers
Happy tax season!
Or should I call it spam season?
Maybe you’ve noticed the number of spam phone calls have picked up recently.
Well… I’m here to tell you that the uptick is directly related to tax season.
That’s because fake IRS calls are one of the easiest (and most lucrative) scams out there.
If you’re unfamiliar, IRS scams usually involve fraudsters posing as agents calling unsuspecting citizens (mostly around retirement age) demanding payment for uncollected taxes.
But they don’t stop there. These are some of the most aggressive scammers out there — threatening to arrest victims within 24 hours, garnish wages of loved ones, and even repossess valuable property if money isn’t routed or payed over the phone immediately.
Believe me, I’ve heard some of these calls firsthand. And they’ve got the potential to cripple your financial situation…
That’s why today, I want to talk about ways you can spot these scams and stay on the path towards a brighter financial future.
Here’s How to Avoid “Scam Season” Phone Calls
Tax season is prime time for scammers, robocallers and cyberthieves to prey on taxpayers. In fact, Tax Day 2018 saw more scam, fraudulent and nuisance robocalls placed than any other day last year, according to Transaction Network Services, Inc.
That day alone saw 143 million high-risk phone calls that undoubtedly cost unsuspecting victims millions of dollars that they will likely never recover.
So what can you do to make sure you’re not their next victim? Here are my recommendations:
Recommendation #1: Know IRS Procedures — Believe me, the IRS is aware of this growing problem. Therefore, they’ve made procedures available to the public on their website. Here are some of the most important:
- The IRS won’t call taxpayers if they owe taxes without first sending a bill in the mail.
- The IRS will never demand payment without allowing taxpayers to question or appeal the amount owed.
- The IRS will never demand that taxpayers pay their taxes in a specific way, such as with a prepaid debit card or any payment specifically over the phone.
- And the IRS won’t threaten to contact local police or threaten legal action for non-payment of taxes.
Recommendation #2: Never Be Quick to Give Out Personal Info — If you are a target of one of these suspicious calls, be sure to never give out any personal information before verifying the legitimacy of the person on the other line.
This can be as simple as not saying “yes” when questioned whether you can clearly hear the person calling… Or as serious as voluntarily verifying your home address.
The best move would be to ask the caller his or her business affiliation, look up their phone number yourself online, and then call back to address the problem at hand.
Recommendation #3: Register Your Phone Number — The Federal Trade Commission operates the National Do Not Call Registry, a free service that reduces the number of unwanted sales calls that you receive.
Now, although illegal IRS scams do not fall under the “unwanted sales call” category, registering for this free service will take your phone number off robocall lists that are likely to fall into these scammers hands, thus minimizing your risk of being the next victim.
I actually just registered myself as I wrote this piece. It took all of one minute!
Bottom line: phone scammers cost hardworking people like yourself over $350 million annually.
But by knowing how to quickly determine the legitimacy of the people on the other line, together we could soon take the money-making opportunities away from these crooks — which will stop jeopardizing our financial futures every time we pick up the phone.
Give Yourself Credit,