‘Tis the season for fraudulent phone calls
March 11, 2016
About a year ago, I wrote a column about some suspicious calls I'd received. The caller claimed to be from the U.S Treasury Department of Legal Affairs, said she was calling about some unresolved financial issues, and threatened that failing to return her call would result in "serious consequences for you."
I did an online search of the number the woman provided and quickly learned that many others had been recipients of a similar call. I reported the call and the phone number to the Federal Trade Commission, and the calls stopped.
Here we are a year later and the calls have started up again. The script has changed slightly; now the only way out of trouble is to call the number back to speak with a "federal agent." Ignoring the message will result in a need to appear before a "magistrate judge" or a "grand jury."
Another tactic is to threaten with action by local police or other law enforcement agencies for failure to meet a caller's demands. I've even heard stories of people being told on the spot, "the police are waiting outside your door and will arrest you if you don't comply."
It bears repeating that if you are ever on the receiving end of one of these calls (or receive a similar type of email, text message, etc.), don't ever provide any personal information about yourself or your finances. Gather as many details as you can from the caller or email and report the call to the FTC: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
You can also file a report with the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing.
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Amy Roby can be reached at email@example.com.