SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – When the phone rings and it’s a call from a number you don’t know, you should think twice before giving your personal information over the phone like a social security or credit card number.
“It sounds so legitimate when the IRS calls you,” Erika Emmelmann told 22News. “What that information could be used for is pretty scary.”
Schemers have been known to call both landlines and cellphones. But how can you tell if the call is real?
The IRS will never ask for your credit or debit numbers over the phone, demand immediate payment or threaten to arrest you.
The IRS also doesn’t leave you pre-recorded messages.
Some schemers often alter caller ID to make it seem like they’re from the IRS, but one resident told 22News he doesn’t take the bait.
“If it’s not a 413 area code or a number I’m familiar with, I reject the call,” John Harrington of South Hadley said.
Nearly five thousand victims have collectively paid more than $23 million to schemers, according to the IRS. 22News spoke to one elderly women who fears many local seniors may fall victim to these fake calls.
“A lot of people pay it, because we’re from the old school where if you owe money, you’re going to pay it so a lot of the elderly get really stuck,” Judy Ciaschini of West Springfield told 22News.
If you don’t owe taxes or think the call may be fake, the IRS recommends that you hang up and don’t give out any information.