Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing,
Whenever the weather heats up so do the scam artist. From time to time we’ve discussed various ways bad people try to get their hands on the friends who visit the EastWing. Guess it’s time to make a few additional remarks along those lines. The Dog Days of Summer bring not only the heat but also the crooks of darkness.
In the past week alone, I’ve received several calls from clients in a rather high state of panic, telling me they’ve received a call from IRS demanding they settle their debt by 6:00 PM local time, else the County Sheriff is authorized to arrest them for tax evasion. They can settle this tax debt by credit card, direct debit from their checking account by providing the bank routing numbers and account numbers on the bottom of their check, or postal money order. None of these clients owed a single penny of taxes.
The main thing to remember about this scam is the simple fact the
IRS DOES NOT EVER, EVER CALL TAXPAYERS ON THE TELEPHONE !
Another tip off is that in conversations I’ve had with the IRS, many hundreds over the years, they never refer to their department as the IRS. It is always Internal Revenue Service. Guess it’s a pride thing within the Department of the Treasury. I have never heard an employee one time say IRS.
When people call me about this the first thing I ask is do you have a phone number? If yes, the number is passed along to the FBI Office in Indianapolis. I’ve made that call so much in the last several years, I now know the name of the officer I need to speak to.
The best defense should you receive such a call is simply tell ‘em NO! and hang up. Now some folks may want to add “ *&^&^%$@##” before the NO word, and that’s ok too. For many who receive such a call it’s a frightening experience. These bad people exploit the fear ingrained into society concerning the IRS.
It’s been my experience that honest people have absolutely nothing to fear from the IRS. Now crooks on the other hand, that’s a horse of a different color.
Another scam making the summer loops this time around is your dream trip on the boat. The tour company is offering you a once in a lifetime chance to see the world at a price you can afford. You get to set the price you are willing to pay for a cruise down the River Thames or the River Rhine or the Blue Danube. Your river, your price. The pitch is, there is unsold space on the boat and the company is willing to discount such fares in order not to have empty space when the boat sails. That whole story is a bunch of crap.
Just like most everything else in life. When it sounds too good to be true….. yep,,, it is. All these crooks want is your credit card numbers or bank information. And they always sound so sincere.
As the use of e-mail became common place so did the efforts to entice you to “CLICK HERE”. A couple days ago I received an e-mail from Teachers Credit Union telling me that my account had been locked for suspicious activity and in order to continue to have access I needed to “CLICK HERE” to reinstate my account.
The only issue I have with this notice is I don’t have an account with Teachers Credit Union. With that being said, I had no problem ignoring the scam. It’s easy to think how people would react that did have an account at Teachers Credit Union.
For the bad guys it’s a numbers game. They can buy email lists that contain an untold number of addresses. An example being, just say you buy 5 million email addresses and send the same message to everyone on the list.
Now let’s say only ¼ of 1% have accounts at Teachers Credit Union and only half of those who do “click here”. That’s still 6,250 poor souls about to have a really bad day. Now let’s say the average lose per hacked account is only $60.00. That’s $375,000.00 for a couple hours work.
When you look at the detail of how such a thing can happen it’s kinda scary. And oh yeah, that original purchase of the 5 million emails, that costs $5000.00 at today’s dark market price.
I’m sure there are some of my friends who will read this and say “they don’t have my e-mail address ‘cause I don’t give it out.” Rest assured that if you have an e-mail address it’s on a list somewhere. That’s the way you get all that stuff into your mailbox and wonder why it came there begin with.
The best advice to everyone is be suspicious of every encounter you have on the telephone from persons you do not recognize. Never ever give any type financial information to anybody on the telephone unless you started to call to begin with. Never “CLICK HERE” on any e-mail no matter who sent it. If necessary, make telephone contract to be assured of the legitimacy of the e-mail.
A very simple rule is WHEN IN DOUBT, DON’T!
In my public presentations on the Internet and how it works, I’ve always said the Internet is a true reflection of society. The good side and the dark side lay equally exposed. Much like in life YOU, AND ONLY YOU, will choose which side to walk.
From The EastWing, Looking Out For Summer Scams, Walking In The Sun Shine, Talkin’ ‘Bout The Dark Side
I Wish You Well,