If the IRS calls you and threatens you with big penalties unless you send money immediately, DON’T BELIEVE IT! Hang up. It’s not an IRS agent, it’s a scammer. If you get a call from the police department telling you there is an outstanding warrant and you must send money right away or face jail or fines, DON’T BELIEVE IT! Hang up. That’s a scam, too. Don’t engage with these callers at all; JUST HANG UP.
Scare tactics are the latest way fraudsters are getting into the bank accounts of their victims. If you get this kind of call, remember that the IRS, police departments, banks, and credit unions will NEVER call or e-mail you and threaten you or tell you to send them a money order, payment with a pre-paid debit card, or any other immediate payment. If a caller does this, he or she is a scammer trying to intimidate you into parting with your money.
There are new, more subtle fraudulent approaches, too. Just recently a credit union member reported a call from someone posing as a pharmacy employee, wanting to obtain personal information on that person’s boss to refill a prescription. There was no such prescription and the member was not fooled. Remember, NEVER give out your personal information or another person’s information to someone on the phone unless YOU have initiated that call to a known entity for that express purpose. Don’t be fooled!
If you work in a company’s Human Resources department, here’s another new scheme to watch for. Someone has been calling HR departments posing as the company’s CEO and asking for the W-2 information on current employees. Now THAT’s pretty brazen, isn’t it! These kinds of scams are happening all over the nation, and you must be aware and vigilant. Rule of thumb: NEVER give out sensitive information of any kind to anyone unless you know for sure who that person is. Protect yourself, and protect your fellow employees, too.
Last, a renewed warning to computer users: The recent “Microsoft tech support” scam is still going on and people are still falling for it. A person calls and identifies him/herself as a Microsoft employee and then says that your computer has been infected with a malicious virus. Then the caller tells you to follow instructions to allow him to take control of your computer remotely so tech support can “fix” it. He’ll fix it all right…by installing malware of his own and then demanding payment (ransom) from you to return control of your computer to you. NEVER, NEVER believe these scammers (usually with foreign accents) and NEVER give them control of your computer. JUST HANG UP.