This publication has been a long time coming, but for some reason, it always has gotten put on the back-burner in lieu of a "more interesting" story. After reading a news article out of Chesapeake, Virginia today, which was February 22nd, I realized that this was an article that needed to be written. So, this is:
Is This A Scam - Part II
The trigger for this post was actially an article I read which referred to a gentlemen who was contacted and told that he owed the IRS money, and that he needed to pay or "the police will come."
Let's first address the fact that we are in full swing of IRS scams. It's terrible that people choose such a time to profit off of others, with so much sensative data, but I guess you could say hackers don't exactly have the highest moral standards. That being said, DO YOUR TAXES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Do not wait. The longer consumers wait to file their taxes, the better the chance of having your identity stolen. Now I'm not try to scare you, but let me put it in this perspective...if you wanted to steal people's IRS information, what would be the best time to do it? April 5-14th most likely. Plus, the longer hackers operate, the more likely they are to get caught, so hackers typically will try to infiltrate a system and get out in a small amount of time, so file your taxes as soon as you can.
Now I want to get back to the main reason behind this post - the scam portion of the story I mentioned in the opening paragraph. If you read my last post, I mentioned a scam that happened right in Corvallis, Oregon, and quite frankly, is occurring all over the country.
Scammers are contacting "customers" and explaining the to them that "they may be in trouble with the police if they don't give (insert amount of money) to (insert company name ie: IRS). In order to do this, the scammer almost always has the customer do one of the following: go to a Western Union and wire the money, buy gift cards then give the scammer the gift card number on the back, or the scammer sends a check for an amount more than requested, you then wire back the excess amount of money.
I spoke with a customer that I was working with last night who said, "Who would fall for that?" I responded, "Apparently quite a few people."
Just be cautious when you receive phone calls and keep these in mind:
- NEVER WIRE SOMEONE MONEY OR BUY GIFT CARDS TO "SETTLE DEBT"
- Apple, Comcast, Microsoft, or the IRS will NEVER call you because of a "hacked account." Apple, Comcast, and Microsoft will email you (most likely); the IRS will send you a letter
- If it sounds fishy, it probably is.
- Get a second opinion. That's why I'm here! Give me a call (541.714.5880) or an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) about what happened, because 99% of the time, I'll know within the first two sentences (just because I've seen these types of issues so many times).
Please spread this to your friends, as I know this has been an issue of my town of Corvallis.
Be safe out there, and get your taxes done early!