Tag Archives: cost trap

Ingenious Ruses and Scams: Spoofing The IRS

The crème de la crème of cunning crooks and crafty con artists have been leading US citizens a merry dance with their latest scheme: using the Internal Revenue Service’s caller ID to make threatening calls demanding that their victims pay their ‘overdue tax’. In the aftermath of the initial bombshell, the caller will casually request that the tax be paid via debit card or a wire transfer, both methods conspicuous by their untraceability.

You may think that this scam is clumsy and glaringly obvious. As we’re about to demonstrate, we’ve seen numerous instances of badly executed IRS impersonations in the past: heavy accents, threadbare information about their potential victims and a habit of dropping the phone like it’s hot when the victims press for information…

User Dumbo proved himself not very dumb at all when he received a call from 5302385813:

A man with a thick accent said his name barely audible and claimed to be from the IRS and said that this call was regarding some debt I allegedly had. He got very rude and threatened to freeze my accounts and credit cards. The thing is, I don’t have any debt and I’m VERY sure of it. So I told him not to call anymore and, still hearing his protests through the phone, I just hung up.

‘Xaviera’, meanwhile, was pestered by 7165757391:

I was called three times in 2 hours. Each time they claimed to be IRS and they said something about taxes or debts, I didn’t really get it because he had an indian accent. Anyway, firstly I know for sure that the IRS won’t call people, it will use the US Mail service to reach the person they want. So their claim is false. And second, they wanted to talk to a different person and I told them each time that I’m not the one they’re looking for. I was informed that it didn’t matter. Now that’s a trustworthy business…

Very savvy, guys. Hang in there: we’re proud of you.

However, these guys have gone the extra step. Not only are they calling from what appears to be the IRS’s bona fide number (spoofed, naturally), they also somehow know the last 4 digits of your social security number and make it a royal flush with staff names, badge numbers and often emails with the IRS logo and format.

But they don’t even draw the line there! We covered the worrying rise in number-spoofing in a previous blog, “Who Spoofed the Sheriff?”: fraudsters can make use of technology that masks their real caller ID and replaces it either with a nonsense number (000-000-0000 being a favourite), or (oh the audacity!) the caller ID of a publicly recognised establishment. If you don’t comply, or seem doubtful, the guys behind the IRS scam will proceed to follow up the call with further harassment from the police or the Department of Motor Vehicles; number-spoofing is child’s play to these guys so prepare for a barrage of calls, all ostensibly from the correct caller IDs. Armed with this facade of legitimacy and threats of arrest, deportation or confiscation of your business or driving licence, they’ll have you listening.

However, as always, we urge you to BE WARY! IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel stresses that in the first instance, notification about due tax will in most cases be sent in the mail. Payment will be requested via cheques or bank transfers, never wire transfers or debit card! Moreover, they are an independent body and do not act in conjunction with state police or other organisations.

If you receive an unprompted call claiming to be from the IRS, we advise you to call them directly on 800-829-1040. You can also wise up using the official IRS ‘scam-alert’ web page. In the meantime, keep searching and reporting numbers on tellows and give each other a hand in the fight against scam callers!

‘Til next time,

Your Tellows Team

Fake job offers, donations that never reach their destination and the rather popular PayPal scam. The latest in scams!

Dear friends of tellows,

If you think that scammers aren’t clever, or creative, this article may surprise you. Successful frauds are not that common and it’s quite difficult even to invent one, much less make it work. Today, we will present you with three new techniques that we have come across this week, based on a good deal of patience, exploitation of basic human emotions and of course, a degree of resourcefulness.

The first number 2032863985 from Connecticut, USA is a great example. To pull off this particular scam, the fraudsters had to buy a domain and make a plausible webpage, obtain a convincing phone number, research classy-looking addresses, stay in constant contact with their clients and rake in the cash in a way which wouldn’t arouse suspicion – at least not right away. This was a carefully planned and executed ploy, not your standard “Give me your credit card details!”

It goes something like this:

Your receive an email from Wilfred Adams (this name was a favourite of theirs) from Ghana Gold Corporation with a job offer, which seems to fit you perfectly and also happens to pay pretty nicely. (It’s always an email, never a call or a letter). Although you may initially have some doubts, they’ll provide you with ample information on their projects, give you access to their webpage (http://ghgoldcorp.com/projects.html) and provide their contact information.
However, the catch will inevitably become visible when formalities are discussed; the job is, after all, in Ghana and there will be a fair few administrative points to consider.

when you come to the “formalities” of the job offer they start asking for money, like for the courier services, medical clearances and custo clearances and so on. They never really answer your questions and the offer comes out of the blue, without any calls. You would believe that a big company like that doesn’t make you pay for something like courier services but this is the first hint.

The further along it goes, the more you’ll notice that things don’t quite add up. As you start to find out more about the job, the company and their projects, you’ll begin to smell a rat.

a few things don’t really add up:
– the area code is wrong
– when you look up the domain information about the site you’ll find a different registered address=> so the address given in the mail is wrong or just doesn’t make sense
– but even the newfound information is wrong if you go deeper:their phone number isn’t even theirs
– the mail in the domain informations is known to be used by frauds
=> it sounds more and more like scam: someone bought a domain and phone number to hide the real objective….to many red flags here that i would believe this job offer, there isn’t even a business like Ghana Gold Corporation in NY!!!

The second number 4107056172 from Beltsville – USA is from Outreach Calling call center. It is a lawful enterprise but its methods are somewhat interesting. This call center calls on behalf of several charitable organizations, such as MD State Fraternal Order Of Police or children’s hunger funds. People can donate money to, say, the families of fallen officers. Whilst this all seems very commendable, what brought this issue to our attention was how the donations are managed. One user reported some interesting facts:

I know about this company because let’s say I had a friend (^^) and this friend kinda worked for a similar company. This callcenter calls people and collects money for different causes, depending for what organization it currently works. It can be something like “for families of fallen police officers” or the like. They cant accept donations under 10$ because only 1-15% of it will be actually donated and the rest goes to the owner or let’s say for paycheks, for maintaining the building and so on. To remove the number is also quiet difficult because a regular call rep can’t do that. He will just remove you from the list of that specific organization but they’ll continue to call you to donate for different organizations. I heard you’ll have to aks specifically for a verifier to remove your number permanently but this step is avoided as much as possible. It’s not like the don’t donate anything but like I said, the majority of the money isn’t used for what the people who donated think it is. It’s sad but well….this friend of mine doesn’t work there anymore but it was an experience…..

This is not to say that donations should not be made but those who would like to donate may wish to ask how much of the donated money actually goes to the charitable organization. If you have any problems or you can’t get hold of the information you want, then it’s always possible to donate to the preferred organization directly.

And finally our third number 8324081079 from Texas, Houston area, USA, which is a PayPal scam. This method is getting quite popular the world over. Why? Because it’s easy to do and citing PayPal can create a trustworthy-looking facade. Spotting the scam is easy if you look out for the following…

These are the hints for the scam:
– First you wouldn’t send a text message but use the services on the responsible site. But by sending you text like that you’ll give them your mail address.
– They usually ask for information which you already published on Cycle Trader or another site.
– Then it always comes to problems with the payment and for whatever reason, they always can pay with PayPal only. Maybe they’ll invent some story…

Getting your email address and paying by PayPal are the vital elements needed to make this scam work. Usually the process goes like this:

1. They send you a text message asking you to send them a mail so that they can get your mail address
2. Then they will say that they’ll pay with PayPal and they will give you extra money for the shipping or something else, afterall your bike or whatever they want, has to be delivered to them
3. Then you receive a PayPal deposit notice email where you can read the money has been transferred
4. Finally, now that you have the money, you transfer via wire or pre-paid card the ‘extra’ money for the shipping to the one who’s supposed to pick up the bike or whatever
=> Then you realize that no money has been transferred to your PayPal account. The end!

In some cases, when the scam victim starts to have their doubts, they will become more insistent and between steps 3 and 4 they may start to send more messages to reassure you and encourage you to pay. They may say something along the lines of:” I already paid my part. All that’s left is for you to finish your part of the deal” or “PayPal already gave you all the information. The notice they send me…..”. Watch your step here and do not answer to this kind of message.

All of these techniques are designed to make you part with your money and in the most inconspicuous way. Second-guessing is highly recommended and if there is even the slightest hint of scam, take precautionary measures and do your research.

This Week’s Top 3 Nuisance Callers

Dear friends of tellows,

at the end of the month we present you another 3 numbers which have stirred your suspicions. These nuisance callers won’t take a breake and you really can’t expect any sympathy from them.  This week we have some familiar techniques for you, which you will recognise for sure. All the Jennifers, Ashley, Nicoles and Jennys are back on facebook. Maybe they weren’ t gone in the first place. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy, they still send you messages like you’re long lost friends and try to make you call or text them. We also have a rather dangerous number, which can swindle your money from you before you really understand what’s going on. The frauds use Skype calls to reach the people and they pretend to offer you help with your computer or something else. Be aware that as soon as you give them access to your computer or your data, you can be in deep trouble.

1. 3059210411 with 3 comments and  tellows Score: 9
22817128367   with 4 comments and  tellows Score: 8
36617480240 with 3 comments and  tellows Score: 8

The first two numbers,  3059210411 and 2817128367  , have the same history and the same tactic. Although one is from Canada an the other from Miami, it really doesn’t make any difference if you’re on facebook. We already reported on this topic of Social Network Scam and it seems that this method is getting more popular and the phone numbers increase. Even girls are used as targets as Jennifer confirms:

Funny, I heard of this before but I thought that was a guys-only problem. But just a few days ago I got a friends request on facebook from another “Jennifer”, saying that we shared a friend – which we didn’t, at least not on facebook but that kind of made it appear more trustworthy to me since I have quite a few friends who don’t use facebook anymore and I figured real life-friends beat facebook friends. After I added her, she contacted me again, we wrote back and forth for like a minute before she said she’d had to log off but I should text her to 281-712-8367. That’s when it finally dawned on me that we didn’t have any mutual friends – neither on fb nor in real life. Such a scam!

The third number 6617480240 belogs to frauds, which are after your money and they do this in a rather exceptional way. Sometimes they use your computer as an excuse to gain access to your data and in others they try to make you to tell them the information they need. Some of the calls are made through skype to make it more difficult to call them back. Some of their methods were dicussed in another article of our blog
One technique which is new was discovered by the user Leger:

Got a call from this number. The person on the other line said that he was Jack Turner and that he was calling from Best Mortgage COnsultants. He also said that the company was in Florida, but as I now see that was just another one of his lies. He tried to offer fee loan modification services and wouldn’t say where he got my number from.

If you’ve also been a target of scam calls, don’t hesitate to share it with our tellows community. By sharing your own expirience, you can help those who get terrorised by these calls. Take care and have a nice weekend!

Your tellows team