- posted: Jul. 14, 2020
Today’s thieves are less confrontational as they do not have to use guns. You won’t read about Bonnie and Clyde and they don’t need Tommy Guns to steal. Instead they scam us with cons. The Greater Palm Springs community is the ideal location to take advantage of the unsuspecting elderly here who are the best “suckers”.
There are over 500,000 robocalls a month that cost almost 10 Billion a year. The biggest robocalls are (1) Google listing scams, (2) Loan related scams and (3) Fraudsters that offer a free vacation. Most of our parents taught us “if it sounds too good to be true...it probably isn’t.” The robocalls escalate when the phone is answered. The fraudsters have call centers, often from India, that make these, one after another 24/7. They often appear to be coming from a legitimate entity like the IRS or Riverside County Sheriffs because of their spoofing software.
The scammer may say they are an enforcement officer acting on behalf of the IRS, the Palm Springs Police or The Riverside County Sheriff.
Sometimes the caller ID may even confirm the same. This has happened to me several times and I initially thought it was legitimate until I called the Riverside Sheriff.
It is imperative that you know that the IRS does not call you. If they want to contact you they will send a letter. If you get a call, please contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or forward their emails to [email protected].
Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling, and use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may also use the victim's name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently reported that California remains in the top 10 on the FTC's list of states with the highest per-capita identity theft complaints. Tax-related identity theft is a top source of those complaints, according to the FTC. I fear that with Covid 19 more people are home and the scammers have probably doubled their efforts to get your money.
California residents are more vulnerable to fraud, particularly identity theft. It is exacerbated by recent data breaches. A caller may demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill, and con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. "Urgent" callback requests through phone "robo-calls," or via a phishing email are also common.
Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. The caller may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don't get the money, according to the IRS.
There are five things the IRS will not do that scammers often do. Any one of these five are a tell-tale sign of a scam. For instance the IRS will never:
- call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
- demand that you pay taxes 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; or
- threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, you should hang up immediately and report the call.
If you think you are the victim of an ID Theft then cancel your credit cards ASAP, place a fraud alert on them and call the police to make a report.
REPORT POTENTIAL ID THEFT to:
Equifax 1-800 525 6285; fraud alert 888 766 0008;
Experian (formerly TRW) 1-888 397 3742 to place Fraud Alert;
Trans Union 1-800 680 7289 for Fraud Alert:
Social Security Administration (fraud line) 1-800 269 0271