Today I got a call that was from out of state, so I just let it go to voicemail. When I listened to the message I was surprised to find that I had been targeted by one of these new IRS phone phishing scams. This one was particularly stupid. It was a computer voice telling me that I owed money to the IRS and that there was a warrant out for my arrest. I was instructed to call the number back immediately to take care of this.
These scams are becoming more and more common and unfortunately people are falling prey to them. When you call you’re often told that you need to pay your tax bill with a pre-paid debit card or risk being sent to jail. They then take the number you give them and cash it in for some easy money.
It’s important to think critically whenever you get a call on your cell phone from someone claiming to be a bill collector. If you’re in debt, and you know who you’re in debt to, make sure you stop and think if what the person is saying makes any sense. I’ve paid my taxes for years, so the idea that I’m wanted by the IRS is silly. Additionally, many of these scams will try to use scare tactics with words like “arrest warrant” or “deportation”. Don’t let these things scare you, as we live in a country that (at least for now) involves due process for crimes. If there really is an arrest warrant out for you, you probably would know about it, as you’ve probably been in court already for any alleged crimes.
Just like with email, think through everything that is being told to you before you act. The best tool in a scammer’s toolbox is your uncertainty. If they can get you thinking in a panic, versus calm a collected mind, they’re going to be able to take advantage of you. And under no circumstances give out any personally identifiable information. Once they know who you really are, they can use that against you to confuse you. Your safest option is always to hang up or ignore the voice mail. You can also block the phone number which means they won’t be able to contact you again.
Stay safe out there, use your brain and think before you speak. Also… block the number in the picture above. No reason anyone else should be bothered by them.