- The Federal Trade Commission advises that you can deter identity theft by safeguarding your personal information.
- More information may be obtained by going to www.ftc.gov/idtheft
- This Federal Trade Commission site has extensive information on ID theft, lists recent scams and how to protect yourself.
Consumer Fraud - Scams
Many Scammers target seniors. AARP reports that one should take the following steps to protect yourself.
- Check your credit report at least once a year and correct any errors.
- Don't give out your Social Security number unless it's absolutely required
- Carefully get rid of papers with personal information. Shred charge receipts, bank statements, expired credit cards, credit offers.
- Don't give out your credit card or bank account number over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you are able to independently confirm you are dealing with an actual representative of a legitimate business. To learn more go to www.aarp.org and enter scams in the search box. You will get a big list of scams and how to avoid them.
National Do Not Call List
- There are hundreds of phone scams going on at any one time.
- One way to minimize these is to register your phone number with the National do Not Call List www.donotcall.gov you can enter up to 3 phone numbers. You will need to include your e-mail address since you will get an e-mail confirming you wish for that phone number to be on the Do Not Call List. You should start seeing a reduction on phone calls within 31 days.
Our members receive phone calls from spammers on a daily basis.
Some of the most common are:
- Your caller ID shows a call from your name and your phone number.
- Robo calls.
- Free travel packages.
- Credit and loans, reduction in rates and increase in credit limits.
- You've won big money.
- You can get something free and then you ask you for a payment wanting check and/or bank information.
- And the list goes on and on.
The best thing to do, especially if you have Caller ID, is do not answer a phone call for which you do not recognize the number. If it is important they will leave a message, if you have voice mail and then you can decide whether to call them back or not.
The Federal Trade Commission has several sites that provide more information.
Also be sure to register you phone numbers on the Federal Do Not Call List www.donotcall.gov
IRS Cautions about phone scams
The IRS reports that phone scams from callers demanding money or say that they have a refund due, and want you to share private information such as bank and checking account numbers.
These scams are being seen in all parts of the country.
The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Below are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will never do:
- Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
- Demand that you pay tax without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in the local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Also remember that the IRS does not use e-mail, text messages, or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do.
- If you know you owe taxes or think that you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers will help you with a payment issue.
- If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov
- If you have been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at www.FTC.gov Please include "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.