Scam Alert: Courtesy of Cary Johnson

IRS Scam Alert

Government Agencies will not contact you via telephone or E-mail to settle an outstanding issue, including any payment or fee!

The IRS scam calls have never gone away. Now, however, the calls are supposedly coming from the U.S. Treasury Department or your Sheriff’s Office. These calls are from scammers, mostly calling from outside the United States, who rout the call through a U.S. Area Code to add legitimacy and fool consumers. They are meant to frighten and scare consumers into acting compulsively by providing a credit card or buying a ‘Green Dot’ money card to make an arrest warrant go away or avoid a court appearance.

The IRS, U.S. Treasury Department, and Sheriff’s Department will not call you about an outstanding warrant or court appearance nor will they ever seek payment via a telephone call to settle a citizen issue.

This District Attorney’s Fraud Hotline was informed of 9 different area codes that scammers used for these calls on one day. The number will be active for about 5-8 hours and then disconnected or taken down. Remember that scammers cannot get money from a Voice Messaging Machine—they need to talk to and frighten a ‘real’ person into providing a credit card or reloadable money card. Don’t talk to them & don’t call their number back!

Tips to remember:

  • Government agencies will not call you about an outstanding arrest warrant or court appearance;
  • Government agencies will not attempt to settle any fee, payment, or penalty over the telephone, via wire money transfer, credit card, or a reloadable money card;
  • These scammers are mostly calling from outside the United States, countries like Jamaica, India, Singapore, and Pakistan, and routing their calls through a U.S. Area Code to fool citizens;
  • These scammers can ‘spoof’ your caller ID, even putting in your own name and telephone number, to get you to answer their call;

These ‘keys’ are important:

  • Do not answer calls from an Area Code that you do not recognize; allow Voice Messaging to answer the call;
  • Do not return a call to any number left by one of these scam calls; don’t believe you can wear scammers out or ‘teach them a lesson’;
  • The ONLY message a scammer understands is: “I’m not paying attention to you!” Don’t answer the call; don’t return their call; don’t push “#2” to be taken off their call list.
  • These responses all state: “I paid attention to your call.”
  • If you answer their call, even if you just pick up the receiver and quickly put it back down, you demonstrate that you paid attention to their call and you may receive another 4-6 calls.

You may call the District Attorney’s Fraud Hotline to report these calls (303-271-6980). Please remember, however, the scammer’s return number may already likely be disconnected and we do not have jurisdiction in foreign countries.

Written by Cary Johnson, Prosperion’s partner in scam and crime prevention. 

Steve Booren

Steve Booren is the Owner and Founder of Prosperion Financial Advisors, located in Greenwood Village, Colo. He is the author of Blind Spots: The Mental Mistakes Investors Make and Intelligent Investing: Your Guide to a Growing Retirement Income and a regular columnist in The Denver Post. He was recently named a Barron's Top Financial Advisor and recognized as a Forbes Top Wealth Advisor in Colorado.

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