A new phone scam

One of the downsides about having a phone is getting phone scam calls. The latest scam is for the caller to leave a recorded message that does not include your name but says “You are a person of interest in a formal proceeding. We have tried to contact you several times, so please call this number to discuss this issue.”

This is a scam. I am certain someone at the number I am asked to call back would ask me to wire money to make it go away. If I was a person of interest, they would not be calling me.

This serves as a reminder of other scams. Top of mind, here are a few to watch out for:

– IRS Scam: Someone will call leaving a message that you owe back taxes and the IRS will seek legal action to collect. The IRS will send you a letter if there is an issue with your taxes.

– Grandparent scam: The caller will pretend to be a grandchild and wait for the person to give the caller a name of a grandchild. The caller then assumes that identity. Typically, the faux grandchild says they have been in an accident and need money wired.

– Microsoft scam: This scam uses a caller who says Microsoft has detected that you are having computer problems. They want access to your computer at which time they will glean important financial information and passwords.

This does not address aggressive marketing attempts where the caller appears to be your credit card company. They are not really, but just want to issue you another credit card. It also doesn’t address other unscrupulous schemes where callers pretend to be who they are not to sell another product. Nor does it address the email phishing attempts that will allow someone to commandeer your computer.

Be on the look out. People want your money. Too many will lie, cheat and steal. All it takes is one bite to get hooked on a bad deal for you. What are some of the other scams you have come across?

18 thoughts on “A new phone scam

  1. Very timely post, Keith. I don’t answer calls that are not from somebody on my contact list, but I have noticed an increase in the volume of such calls in the past several months. I hadn’t heard of the grandparent scam … how awful!!! Do people no longer have a conscience?

    • Jill, I learned about the grandparent scam when my mother called me to see if my son was alright. I surmised a person tried to convince her he was on an accident. I looked into online and found it was a nationwide scam. The target amount was something odd like $2,700,

      My mother also was still so to a scam where a person pretended to be from a certain insurer saying her policy was canceled. She did not have a policy with that company.

      It infuriates me the people have no conscience. Keith

      • It infuriates me too … and I always think what contributions to society these people could make if they spent their time, expertise and energy toward doing good instead of hurting people. And the people most likely to fall for these scams are the ones who can least afford it. You know people must fall for them, because if it weren’t profitable, they wouldn’t do it.

      • Agreed. The elderly are most susceptible. This is a key reason why the GOP decision to hinder the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is so reckless. It was fining organizations that defrauded people. Trump touted his looking out for the common person, but this move screws them. It was all in favor of the financial institutions. Keith

  2. I yearn for someone claiming to be from the UK’s HMRC (IRS) to phone me and telling me about a tax bill, since I am retired from the said department…โ€ฆ.There are a whole host of technical questions ready to be fired at them……

    • Roger, I bet you could tell them a few things. I laugh when legislators say they are going to make the tax system simpler. Its complexity benefits the wealthy – so simplification is just not going to happen. Keith

      • I’ll try and brief here Keith.
        When I joined up with H.M Inspector of Taxes- 50 years this September; 23rd I think. The system was complex…BUT…
        There were tax allowances for folk who were on low incomes, tax allowances to encourage people to join pension schemes; one for Life Insurance, allowances for dependants, and so forth.
        If a person came into a tax office and felt they were paying ‘too much tax’ the standard procedure would be to take out a blank Income Tax form and take them through it; very often there was an allowance they were due…and went away happy…..
        Simplified systems have low rates of tax, BUT, low rates of tax proportionality benefit those with more income.
        Complex systems supply a steady source of income from accountants finding loopholes for those who can afford them, but as argued above these can allow a number of benefits to lower income folk.
        I too laugh (harshly and sarcastically) when they say the system is too complex and does not provide value for money- more staff and a more representative system provides value for money…..

      • Roger, you correctly point out that some of that complexity is designed to help lower paid folks. We have an Earned Income Tax credit here which helps those without much. Keith

      • That’s very good. We have a Tax Credit system and a Benefit System for unemployed and those whose who have health issues. But they creak under lack of administrative funding a true staff training system (and of course a call-centre ethos)

  3. I got a text the other day to say that my phone number had been suspended and to go to a link to get the number reinstated. I ignored it… It was a phone that I rarely use, but I tried a call to my other phone and it worked just fine (because it was still in credit).
    These people are unscrupulous. Just hang up and wait five minutes (to be sure the phone line is cleared), then call the bank, person or company that was supposedly warning you of something… If it was a real call, text (or email), you will find out. Mostly it is not. I usually ignore them now. I will usually know by checking things first, and do not have to verify most of them.
    It is easy to catch someone off guard though, and the scams constantly change, to be replaced by new ones. Best to have a policy of hanging up…a caller that is real will try to call back. But hey….even that could become the next scam!๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜›

    • Colette, good approach. When I have gotten a real person when they call, after they finish their pitch, I have said “you realize you are committing fraud.” They usually hang up. Keith

  4. Well said — and timely. I have had the computer scam pulled on me. We use caller ID and only answer calls from folks we know. Our world seems to grow smaller and smaller by the day — and more fearful as well.

    • Hugh, I am glad you are phone screening. We do as well, but some leave messages. It is sad that people stoop to this level. It is almost as if they believe the anonymity makes it less of a crime. Keith

  5. I don’t answer any calls from anyone I don’t know. I have received a few voicemails from people claiming to be from the IRS. BOY, AM I IN BIG TROUBLE!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It makes me very sad that some people fall for these scams. Oftentimes they are older and very vulnerable. There is a special place in hell for these criminals.

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