As bad as it may sound, internet and telephone scams will always be a part of our lives. There are a lot of desperate individuals in the world who will do anything for money and they're not afraid to target and hurt a lot of innocent people.
While many of us can easily recognize scams, there are some who easily fall for them. In an attempt to protect the population, the IRS has been compiling an annual report which lists the most common scams including identity theft and fake charity solicitations.
Despite their efforts people are still losing money to con artists. So what can you do to protect yourself from scammers?
Never trust anyone asking for money or private information over the phone or online. If you want to verify that a call is coming from a credible source, don't pick-up, instead return their call using an official number like the one on the back of your credit card.
Con artists can "alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request," according to a statement on the IRS website.
Earlier this year, a "can you hear me now?" phone scam was recording unsuspected people saying "yes," then their responses were used to authorize credit card payments. If you pick up a call from a number you don't recognize, avoid answering any yes or no questions.
If you think you've fallen victim to a scam, immediately contact the police as well as your credit card company then file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant.
Recently, a tax-related phone scam began to spread across the country. Click on the next page to see how it could affect you.