Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers. While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the, FBI, IRS or the Social Security Administration. The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards. Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently issued videos warning people about these scams. The videos are both in Spanish and English and can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/user/TIGTAVIDEOS
So how can you tell if it is really the IRS contacting you?
Fortunately, the answer to that question is easy. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email or text messages. Anyone contacting you by these methods of communication who claims to be an IRS employee is a scammer.
As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not. Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Even though your Caller ID may indicate that the call is coming from the FBI, the IRS or some other government agency the call is coming from a scammer.
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