Is the IRS Calling You? Scams and How to Spot Them.

I swear, every time I think scammers are gone, they find more creative and scarier ways to trick people into giving them money.

2018 has proven to be the year of scamming. Not only there was a girl in New York that faked being a heiress and scammed people all over the place, but we have our own meme-able figure with Joanne the Scammer. For us regular folks, though, the scam come in the form of people pretending to be authority figures in order to extort money out of you, with the threat of jail time if you don’t.

Now, let me break this down for you: the IRS will NEVER call you. The FBI will NEVER call you either. Just like a fake Prada bag–it looks alright from afar but, once you get close, it’s clear it is not as legit as they make themselves out to be.

Most common scams so far:

  • An IRS agent calling you (usually using a very generic name, like Alan Johnson) saying there is a warrant for your arrest for taxes not paid. Now, your first instinct is to get scared–because who isn’t scared of angering the IRS? The person calling you has a lot of information on you, but don’t get convinced so easily, as most of it is something they might have gotten through the massive leak Equifax had last year. I had an “agent” calling me, and while they had most of my info, they also had my old name, which was still on my credit report. Also, this person seemed to be reading a script. That rang all of my alarms–and also, knowing I definitely do NOT owe money to the IRS–and I hung up immediately. The imaginary cops haven’t come for me.
  • An email that assures you, almost convincingly, that they have footage of you from your laptop in inappropriate situations (most of the ones I’ve gotten assume I’m a guy, and that I’ve been watching adult movies). It’s definitely very template-like, but one difference is very important: they demand money be deposited into their cryptocurrency account (think Bitcoin). Okay, so I don’t know why people are still banking on cryptocurrency when they clearly have no money–evidenced by their attempt to take mine! No! I’ve gotten two of these so far, eliminated them immediately, and changed my password (just to be sure).
  • You are a lottery winner! Did you buy a ticket? No! Apparently it doesn’t matter because someone on the internet wants to give you a bunch of money from the United Nations! Doesn’t that sound great? Oh by the way, they want you to send over a copy of your passport and license to claim your prize. NO. Don’t do this please.

Keep yourself safe out there!