The Better Business Bureau, a non-profit organization, is advising people to think twice before answering a call from the IRS as telephone scams are starting to become more predominant during the holidays.
The organization known as the BBB was founded in 1912 with the main focus of helping people by offering free reviews of over 4 million businesses, as well as raising their trust for the current marketplace. Their website has become on of the most popular sites in the US, being accessed by over 130 million citizens on a yearly basis.
Tax scams and frauds are the most prevalent in their top ten list of scams released each year, with 2015 showing over 24% scam reports. This is most likely due to the current market as well as the constant fear towards the IRS that the US citizens have.
They consist of a call made by a person describing themselves as an IRS agent, claiming that you owe the IRS money in back taxes, urging you to pay in order to not get prosecuted and arrested. The scammer falsifies his or her background data by creating false websites and social media posts so that their credibility gets a significant boost.
The next scam on the list is debt collection scams, with the scammer forcing you to pay a supposed loan, with the threat of following lawsuits and even jail if that payment isn’t made. Sweepstakes and gifts are close behind on the list, with the person being scammed asked to pay the transportation fee in order to receive said gift. The prize in question is completely fabricated, mainly due to the fact that you should not pay for something you have supposedly won.
Lottery and work from home scams are on the list as well. These types or frauds are common on the internet, with most users realizing that they are complete frauds. But some telephone users may still think they are true, due to their alleged method of giving their users a hefty sum of money.
Work from home scams might lead to identity theft if you are required to submit your personal ID information while foreign lottery scams are completely illegal, even if said lottery was real. If the consumer is asked to sign for deliveries and packages, or store them at their home, they might even be charged with the handling of stolen goods, a common practice in work from home scams.
There is a multitude of ways in which you can protect yourself from these scams, ranging from having patience towards making decisions to basic background checks of the firms in question. Not giving you ID information to strangers, as well as not making payments through telephone or pre-paid debit cards, are also strongly advised.
Even if telephone scams are starting to become more predominant during the holidays, if the public at large exercises caution or even not answering the call in general if you do not recognize the caller, an increased safety from these scams would be achieved. Even though these types of scams might seem completely untrustworthy, some people still fall for them, with the total amount of stolen funds rising up to $2 million each year.