Tax season is here, and with it comes IRS phone scams. Scammers target millions of Americans every year and many people fall victim as they are threatened with arrest warrants or guaranteed free vacations. One of the most infamous phone scams, the IRS scam, has stolen over $14 million collectively since October 2013 and it's on the rise.
Here is a list of the 8 most common phone scams:
1. Free Vacations and Prizes
2. Phishing Scams
3. Loan Scams
4. Phony Debt Collectors
5. Fake Charities
6. Medical Alert/Scams Targeting Seniors
7. Warrant Threats
8. IRS Calls
Be suspicious of any call you receive where someone either offers you a free vacation or prizes or if they make threats of arrest or other 'punishment' if funds are not paid immediately.
Another popular scam are those that make you believe your personal computer and privacy are at risk. Again, these nefarious people ask for personal information and may have you download malicious software that will secretly access your personal details.
Even the savviest of people fall victim to these unscrupulous scams. Many of these scammers sound very convincing and they know just enough information as well as what to say to gain your trust. They also use tactics of creating excitement ("You've just won an all expense vacation for 2 to the Bahamas!") or instilling fear ("Your computer may be at risk!" "If you don't pay these fees, there will be a warrant for your arrest.")
If you primarily use your cell phone, you can use apps, such as Mr. Number, which blocks most robocalls, which are dialed by computers until a 'live' person answers.
In general, a good rule of thumb should you receive any call is: