New FTC and IRS Scams to look out for
The FTC and IRS recently announced some summer scams which have been reported and what you can do to avoid and react to such events. Below we will outline each one and provide resources to ensure it doesn’t happen to you, or if it does, that you have tools to defend yourself. Without further ado, let’s look at these three scams and what we can do about them.
The FTC doesn’t need your bank account
This is the title of the Federal Trade Commission’s warning about a phishing scam that’s been contacting people and requesting their bank account information. According to the FTC, people have been getting an email claiming to be the FTC’s acting chairman, Maureen Ohlausen. The message claims to need the receiver’s bank account information to allegedly pay them money out of the government’s settlement with Western Union.
If you see a message like this, the Federal Trade Commission asks that you forward it to email@example.com. Of course DO NOT OPEN LINKS OR ATTACHMENTS IN THIS MESSAGE. They also have a note in the memo stating,
“The FTC does shut down scams and return money to people who lost it to dishonest or unfair business practices. But we will never ask for money, your Social Security number, or any banking information so you can apply for a refund or cash a check. If the FTC needs to get money to you, we usually send a check through the mail.”
Tech Support Scams
The FTC set out another notice recently about a scammer leveraging a recent FTC law suit to trick people into giving them their banking information, and even full access to their computers! According to the FTC,
“Recently, a woman who lost money to one of the defendants in the FTC cases got a call from someone who claimed to be with a company the FTC sued. (It was a lie. In reality, the company has closed.) He said the company wanted to give her a refund. He asked her to give him access to her computer, fill out paperwork and buy a prepaid card. She knew that didn’t sound right, so she didn’t cooperate. And she contacted the FTC right away.”
The FTC has been cracking down on tech support scams, suing dozens of companies whom they’ve had similar complaints about. (You can read about their recent efforts here.) If you have an experience which you suspect is a scam, do not cooperate and contact the FTC immediately.
IRS Summertime Scams
Tax payers face a litany of scammers posing as the IRS. These scammers know that people are somewhat afraid of the IRS, and they leverage this fear to get victims to comply with their requests or demands. Recently, the IRS published a list of summertime scams to look out for, and how you can tell if it is in fact the IRS calling, or knocking at your door. Here’s the list of scams they published:
EFTPS Scam– a caller, posing as an IRS official, strong arms the taxpayer into buying a prepaid debit card. They are told that they were mailed two letters which were returned as undeliverable, that the prepaid debit card links to the EFTPS system, and to not contact lawyers or tax preparers until the payment has been made
Robo-call Messages– a message is left on the taxpayer’s phone telling victims that a warrant will be issued for their arrest if they do not make a payment immediately through prepaid debit card or wire transfer
Private Debt Collection Scams– this is just as it sounds, a scammer poses as a private debt collector, collecting overdue taxes
Scams Targeting People with English as their Second Language– scammers reach out to those born and/or raised in other countries, who have moved here, in their native tongue, threatening deportation, arrest and license revocation. After all this, of course, they ask for prepaid debit card or wire transfer
The IRS also detailed the three reasons they would ever reach out to a taxpayer outside of USPS mail services. These reasons are:
- If a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, and has previously been notified
- To secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment
- To tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations
We hope you stay sharp, vigilant and secure this summer.
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