Scams | Consumer Information
IRS Tax Scams
SCAM ALERT…….IRS calling you? It is a scam!
The IRS recently announced that scam artists are aggressively calling and posing as an IRS employee. The caller may state that enforcement action is proceeding against you and asks that you return their call immediately or face serious financial consequences. In subsequent conversations, the caller may ask for personal identification such as your social security number or your date of birth. Or, the caller may simply demand payment by way of a debit card or cash. It is estimated that over 5,000 people have already been victimized to the tune of over $29 million!!
The IRS never calls you. Any contact the IRS makes with you will come by way of the US Mail. Nor does the IRS ever ask you for personal information (they already have it!).
If you are contacted by one of these scam artists you can report to the IRS at 800-829-1040.
For more information please visit the following IRS webpage:
International Lottery Scams
"Congratulations! You may receive a certified check
for up to $400,000,000 U.S. CASH! One Lump sum!
Tax free! Your odds to WIN are 1-6.”
Sound great? It’s a fraud.
Scam operators, often based in Canada, are using the telephone and direct mail to entice U.S. consumers to buy chances in high-stakes foreign lotteries from as far away as Australia and Europe. These lottery solicitations violate U.S. law, which prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail.
Still, federal law enforcement authorities are intercepting and destroying millions of foreign lottery mailings sent or delivered by the truckload into the U.S. And consumers, lured by prospects of instant wealth, are responding to the solicitations that do get through to the tune of $120 million a year, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says most promotions
for foreign lotteries are likely to be phony. Many scam operators don’t even buy the promised lottery tickets. Others buy some tickets, but keep the “winnings” for themselves. In addition, lottery hustlers use victims’ bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card numbers to run up additional charges.
The FTC has these words of caution for consumers who are thinking about responding to a foreign lottery:
- If you play a foreign lottery, through the mail or over the telephone, you’re violating federal law.
- There are no secret systems for winning foreign lotteries. Your chances of winning more than the cost of your tickets are slim to none.
- If you purchase one foreign lottery ticket, expect many more bogus offers for lottery or investment “opportunities.” Your name will be placed on “sucker lists” that fraudulent telemarketers buy and sell.
- Keep your credit card and bank account numbers to yourself. Scam artists often ask for them during an unsolicited sales pitch.
In the last week we have received an unusual amount of reports of phone scams. The reports indicate that the victim is contacted by telephone and told that they either won a prize or that they are late on a bill. The victim is asked to purchase a pre-paid card from a local store or to wire money. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has found that almost all of these crimes originate from outside of the USA. The suspects are purchasing MagicJack and other V.O.I.P. phone systems, hook them up to a computer or internet connection and they are now free to call internationally from their home country to the USA for free since it appears to be a local call.
The Federal Trade Commission has a task force that investigates these crimes and urges victims to contact them as they have been pretty successful in working with other countries to apprehend and prosecute these suspects. Below is a small section from the FTC website.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov) or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm).
If someone wants to report this type of crime, they should file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by either going online or calling the phone number provided above.