IRS Scams & Tech Support Scams
It’s tax season here in the USA and that means not only do you have to be careful about tech-support / your-computer-is-infected telephone scams, this time of year you have to worry about tax scams and folks impersonating IRS officials.
An IRS agent is not going to call you out of the blue and tell you you’re going to jail or face stiff fines if you don’t pay up right way. Believe it or not people were bilked out of tens of millions of dollars last tax season by miscreants posing as IRS employees. No IRS employee is going to call and threaten you. No IRS employee is going to call you and ask for your social security number to “verify” your identity. The IRS already knows your Social Security number, your full name, your address, the number of children you have, and how much you make.
Here’s some information from the REAL IRS:
Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door…
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams
A sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
If you live in the USA, we hope you’ll take minute to read the entire IRS article – it will be well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.
As long as we on the subject of telephone scams:
Even after writing about phone scams a half-dozen times, it never fails that we get two or three emails a week from people who were scammed by telephone calls that supposed came from Microsoft or some other big company telling the target (the victim) that they are:
1. Spreading malware.
2. Infected with malware.
3. Have been hacked.
4. Have been comprised by viruses and/or Trojans.
5. Have had their identity stolen.
Folks…friends… people… listen to us. NO ONE and NO legitimate company is going to call you out-of-the-blue to tell you your computer is infected. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER.
If anyone calls you and tells you that your computer is infected — HANG UP. If you want to go through the hassle of reporting it to the police — that’s up to you. But our job is to protect you. Do not talk to these people. NEVER. Especially do not let them “connect to your computer” to fix your computer or remove the malware they claim you have. They’ll either install a backdoor on your computer or pretend to clean up non-existent malware and try to charge you $129 or more to “repair” the infection you never had to begin with. Plus they’ll ask you to pay by credit card — which opens a whole other set of worries.
There is never a week that goes by that we don’t receive emails from good folks who were bilked by bad people. Some of them fell for the scams and actually allowed someone they didn’t know to access their computers remotely to do Heaven knows what to their computers. We are not making this up. We’ve worked on computers which have been compromised this way. And we have helped dozens of people get their money back too.
e careful. And remember: NO LEGITIMATE company is going to call out-of-the-blue to warn you that your computer is infected or that you’re spreading malware. No legitimate company is going to call you and tell you that your computer is spreading spam, not even if your computer is infected – not even if it is spreading spam. Not even if it is spreading malware or viruses. No legitimate company or person is going to call you out of the blue and offer to fix your computer.
Please be careful. If anyone calls you to tell you that you have a problem with your PC…Hang up. Do not talk to them, and above all do not allow anyone who calls you unsolicited to connect to your PC remotely. NEVER.
And if you live in the USA and anyone calls you, or emails you, or texts you pretending to be the IRS, and threatening you with jail, fines or heavy penalties, don’t fall for it. Read this to learn how to tell a real IRS contact from a fake one.