Regarding phone calls, you can tell it's a Scam if...
No Recording Left. (They hope you call back...DON'T.)
They claim to be from the IRS. (We have a whole section on this below.)
You are Pre-approved for a Loan. (Another full section below.)
You have won some money. (Yeah, right!)
Any legitimate business will always leave a callback number. So if you are getting calls from a number that never leaves a message, It's a Scammer.
CRITICAL: If you do happen to answer the phone from a caller you don't recognize, develope the habit Right Now to NEVER SAY YES.
Understand how important this is. Identity Theft scammers in particular use this tactic. They alreasy have some limited information on you including your first name. When they call they will say, "Is this (your name?)" Your natural automatic response is "Yes."
Guess what, they have their recorder running and have your recorded voice saying "Yes." Usually one is all they need but they may try a few more questions to get more recordng of your "Yes" answer. You have now just signed up for a new credit card or something like that and watch the money start to flow away from you.
NOTE: The Do Not Call list is totally useless in trying to stop scammers. All it does is stop legitimate businesses. Remember, these scammers are criminals.
It's been around since 2008 and like a bad penny, just keeps coming back.
So What can you do?
Your only defense is to get a call blocker. Complaining to your government officials or lodging complaints won't do anything because these criminals are Not in the United States and cannot be apprehended.
I know it sucks, but that is reality.
Every election cycle the Scammers come out in full. You'll get a call from what sounds like a legitimate source asking you to donate to "Candidate". The red flag should come out right away because they ask for your credit card number.
Folks, It's a SCAM. No political candidate, especially one in a national race, will ask for your credit card over the phone. They all have secure websites.
Don't get Scammed.
You know the one, you get an email from someone who is terminally ill or some government official from some obscure country who just happens to want to send you a LOT of money.
These guys are really coming out of the woodworks. It usually goes something like, "This is >>> calling to inform you that you qualify for $50,000 in loans and all you have to do is let us know. No security, no credit checks, all you need is a job."
Now are we supposed to believe that? What loan company ANYWHERE will give you money on just your signature or over the phone?
What happens is they get you on the line, string you along with all these boiler plate promises and "For a small minimum processing fee of $___ your money will be immediately available." What you didn't count on is once they get your method of payment for this "Great Loan" that first small amount will go out of your account, that part is true.
But what you didn't know is that was just a test to make sure the money flows to them and your method of payment worked. Within a few days rather than seeing money flowing "into your account" like they promised, it goes OUT OF YOUR ACCOUNT to an offshore account. Try getting it back no matter how many complaints or law suits try to file. The fact is, Who do you Sue? How do you find them?
This one keeps coming back from time to time.
The attachment is a .zip file, I don't have to tell you what that is...a Very Nasty Virus or worse a Trojan that takes over your computer to steal your ID.
These criminals send them out because folks click on that .zip file thinking "I don't owe any money, who is this."
You find out soon enough when you click on it...
This one is on the Rise. They have systems that can send out 30,000 emails per hour and it's big business.
See the Link to CNBC below.
Package Delivery Scam:
This one comes around frequently. "Your package could not be delivered, click to download the file for the details."
DO NOT click, if you do you are in for a Very Nasty Surprise, not to mention a little less money in your bank account and having to buy a new computer.
The Terminally Ill Donor Scam:
"My Dearest in Christ, I am writing you because I have been diagnosed with terminal cancer..." and it goes on from there.
Rule of thumb, any time you see a "My dearest in Christ," don't click anything, except delete, and DO NOT reply with Remove.
The Compensation for Fraud Victims Scam:
Another one that keeps coming around. It's always a dead giveaway when you see "recipients" in the to line. Another Scam trying to separate you from your money. Scamsters claim to be from the Port Authority, the FBI, the Treasury Department, or some other official department and they have identified your name as one who was defrauded of some money, and they just so happen to have some money for you.
Tax Prep Phishing Scam:
With Tax season near this one is showing up again. It's quite sophisticated and catches a lot of folks off guard.
A bogus email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links that are provided in the bogus email to access IRS e-services appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password. This email was not generated by the IRS e-services program. Disregard this email and do not click on the links provided.
For more information on this scam, see IR-2015-31, IRS Warns Tax Preparers to Watch out for New Phishing Scam; Don’t Click on Strange Emails or Links Seeking Updated Information.
Identity Theft Scams
The IRS has issued several consumer warnings about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scamsters trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. Scamsters will use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims. When identity theft takes place over the Internet (email), it is called phishing.
The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through email. Unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or from an IRS-related component such as EFTPS, should be reported to the IRS at email@example.com.
Additionally, clicking on attachments to or links within an unsolicited email claiming to come from the IRS may download a malicious computer virus onto your computer.
Learn how to protect your personal information.
You may also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.