In these days we have to pay more attention to the victims of phone frauds, which includes the vulnerable seniors. Last week an elderly robocall victim committed suicide after phone scammers have stolen her life-savings.
If you still remember, the US government is doing something to stop the skyrocketing robocalls, there are bills in Congress waiting to be voted next month. In the US, we receive billions of robocalls per month, and monthly money loss amount to 128M last year. Of course, it is promising if the bill passes in the summer, however, we should also pay attention to the latest information about phone scam in the mean time!
The number of phone scams has been soaring in the recent years and scammers have been taking advantages of technology to perform endless phone frauds. As stated by the Federal Communications Commission, half of the calls made in the US in 2019 will be spam calls. Revenue lost due to phone frauds in US peaked $83M in the first quarter of 2019, more then 140K reports received in 4 months according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Phone scam is the most common type of frauds referring to FTC and the median of reported fraud loss is $1000.
Robocalls are the most notorious spam calls nowadays. We have little control for this particular type of phone fraud, as it is generated by computers that dial high volume of random phone numbers in a short period of time. But what about other types of spam calls, like Wangiri scam, IRS scam, telemarketing calls, sweepstakes calls……? Why do these scammers call you and where is the leak? There is always something we can do to lower the chances of receiving spam calls! Lets start with protecting our personal information on the internet!
Tax season is here and opportunists are again determined as ever to victimize wage earners, steal their identities and much-anticipated tax refunds.
Your Social security number, name and date of birth – that’s all a scammer needs – as easy and as low risk as that. Once they have a Social Security number in hand, the scammers can file a phony tax return in the victim’s name, claim a large refund and have it sent to a false address.
Last year, the IRS caught more than 1.8 million fake tax returns and prevented more than $12 billion in fraudulent refunds. It is estimated that about $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years can even be issued to scammers.
This week’s batch all want your card details if the truth be told. Fight back by quite simply not giving them up. Here are some sneaky new adversaries on the scene to look out for…
A new entrant to the IRS scam arena (someone stop these guys already!) is 5303802641. Highly active within the last week, they’ve got a tellows score of 7 (possibly due to one misunderstanding of the scoring system – remember, 1 means TRUSTWORTHY!) and have no respect for public holidays!
Dan’s got his detective hat on…
This dumb scammer calls me on Thanksgiving day pretending to be an IRS lawyer claiming that I have an ‘Tax deficiency’ issue. What kind of idiot will believe an IRS lawyer works on Thanksgiving day and will call his ‘client’??
Very true. People calling you out of the blue about a ‘legal issue’ is more often than not quite fishy!
On the other end of the credibility spectrum is the gentleman (note the irony) calling from 3362286986. This is a guy who ostensibly really takes offence to non-credit-card-owners; he really flies off the handle if you don’t give him the answer he’s looking for. We’re not sure if he’s working ‘freelance’ or is part of a larger agency but he intersperses his survey questions with other, rather inappropriate enquiries.
Darron indignantly tell us about his experience…
I finally picked up from this number and some guy wouldn’t tell me who or where he was calling from. then I asked to be taken off his calling list and was then called several names and asked to give him a kiss. he said are you drunk? he really irritated me do not listen to him!!!!!
Cold-call flirting is a new one on us but this is exactly what this guy is doing… Albeit ineptly. And angrily.
Check out the link above for a few more entertaining stories.
With a tellows score of 8, 8608227440 is offering ‘better credit card rates’ and has absolutely no explanation of how it’s doing so.
Luckily, Aurora recognised the call for what it was…
The caller talked about better interest for my credit card and wanted to have my credit card number…I left her waiting until she hung up. As if anybody would fall for that kind of scam
…well someone must be if they’re still doing it! If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it weekly, DON’T give your card details out willy-nilly!
Keep your heads up, block those numbers and report them on tellows and we’ll be back with more nerve-grating numbers next week!
Your tellows team
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
This week we are going to discuss the aggressive techniques frauds use on you. These scammers aren’t scared to threaten you and even mention that you can contact your attorney. With these methods the threat sounds even more convincing.
The basic idea is as follows: they leave you a message on your phone saying, that there is a restraining order, investigation, previous conviction or something else on you and if you or your attorney don’t answer the call in the next 4 hours, they’ll begin to take the next steps, like contacting your employer and delivering the papers. If you actually try to call them back, it doesn’t work for a few hours. Then, when you get through, no further information is given beside that you have a debt to pay. No proof will be served either.
Important and fear inducing names can be used too, like HSBC ( Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Holdings) or IRS ( Internal Revenue Service) to apply even more pressure. But sometimes the frauds don’t really try that hard, for example, all of them take on the name ‘Johnson’ or they let someone do their work, who has a thick accent The most stupid mistake though, is to actually call someone from a complete different and far far away area code.
We picked out 3 numbers which seem to practice these techniques enthusiastically.
1. The first number 2162175984 from Cleveland has got the time limit of 4 hours and won’t give you any information or a debt verification.
2. The second number 7572146785 from Virginia just leaves an automated message, not making an effort to do it personally. In return they’re quiet stubborn and will harass you for a long time.
3. And the third number 5302385813 from Shasta Lake with the thick accent claimes to be from the IRS and threatens to freeze all your accounts and credit cards if you don’t cooperate.
One of the experiences with these numbers looked like this:
Clearly an illegal scam targeting some moronic collection agency, caller threatens to call your employer in 4 hours if you don’t call them back. When you actually do get someone, they have no clue about collection law. They refuse to give you any information, will not give you a debt verification letter, nor will they send any information to you. This is ILLEGAL!! Know your rights, call the Ohio Attorney General’s office, Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and the FCC, then call the Cleveland Police and file a complaint, have the District Attorney file a cease an desist order, and they will be arrested if they don’t stop. THEY ARE LIARS, DO NOT COOPERATE.
But all this stories aren’t as interesting as this one. Here the people aren’t actually pestered by calls but by e-mails. You get an email from someone called Mr. Benjamin Josh Gibson and also recieve his phone number 7167774105 . In this mail you read a heartbreaking and interesting story of a bank manager, who can’t find the owner of 4 Million$ and simply decides to take it for himself. He extends an invitation to you to assist him in his plan and everything will be devided 50:50. This is like a movie come true but the catch is, that at some point you’ll have to give him your bank account number to send the money from his bank and then it will be your money that is in danger if beeing transfered.
I got an email a few days ago from the guy I mentionen above and I think he tried to make me do some pretty illegal stuff cause he told me something about a man who left behind large sum of money, 4 Mill I think, in a fixed deposit account in his bank. Yes he says he works there. In his email he describes extensively how he tried to find that man but he never succeeded(should I feel pity for him now?….), well he kind of did, but then this rich Mr. Rime Vishnuramann already died . Now he came up with the idea to make me pose as his next of kin to get hold of the money. The government wouldn’t be able to do much good with it and we, as in me and that guy, actually could. It’s all “safe and beneficial.” and “not a matter of being greedy or having ugly morals”….
Yeeeeah riiiight of course it is!!! all would go well becaue his department would be responsible for everything and we will share 50:50.
I laughed for 5 minutes when I’ver read this! I mean how much more rediculous can this situation get??! I’m sure, I’m not the only one who got that messasge an I think there won’t be enogh Millions for all of us.
I’m terribly sorry Mr. Gibson but I’ll have to decline your kind offer. I Know how this works. In our next conversation I’ll have to give you my bank account number, so that you can transfer the money from your bank and miraculously all of my money there will vanish, just like you. That’s why I can only say it again: Thanks but No!!!
These numbers teach us a proper lesson on frauds and their techniques: never give your personal information to someone you don’t know, even if he promises you 2 Million$. Beeing careful is the prime rule concerning this kind of things and we hope that through this article, we could help you to be aware of what you have to be careful of.
The Tellows Team