BBB warning consumers of schemers targeting personal information

(WWLP) – Better Business Bureau of Central New England is warning local consumers of potential schemers pretending to be government officials. Imposters are looking for information, claiming the person owes money, even threatening callers.

People are contacted by phone and the nature of phone calls change, but all calls involved schemers acting like IRS and other government personnel and are asking for personal information for financial gain.

IRS wants consumers know that they will always send an official written notification by mail, and they never ask for credit card, prepaid, or debit card information over the phone or by mail. IRS says it will never ask for personal information like a bank PIN numbers or anything similar for financial accounts for credit cards or bank accounts. Possible victims may be told they are entitled to big refunds or that they owe the IRS and the money must be repaid immediately.

According to the Better Business Bureau these are warning signs:

  • Hostile
  • Threatening to arrest, shut off utilities, and induce fear
  • Schemers use fake names and IRS or government agency badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Schemers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
  • Schemers spoof a government agency’s toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it is a legitimate. They may spoof other numbers to make it appear to be a local call, or from the Washington DC area.
  • Schemers sometimes send bogus emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, schemers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, to further try to make the threat seem legitimate.

If you know you owe taxes call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. If you are confident you don’t owe taxes and someone contacts you, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

And if you’ve been targeted by these schemers and submitted your information, immediately reach out to the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Add “Telephone Scheme” to the comments of your complaint.

These schemes take on many different forms and BBB ask customers to be smart about releasing their personal information to callers.

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