Tag Archives: scam

Huron Township Police investigating fraudulent IRS phone scam

Fraud Alert

By Scott Bolthouse
Hub Editor in Chief

 

On Monday, July 28, Huron Township Police responded to a citizen who claimed they were the victim of a fraudulent IRS phone call.

According to Police Chief Everette Robbins, the victim, who lives in the 29000 block of Van Horn Road, stated that they were contacted by telephone regarding a debt that they owed to the IRS.

The fraudulent IRS employee informed the victim that they owed money to the IRS and that they needed to pay immediately to avoid being arrested, Robbins said.

According to Robbins, the victim was advised to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak Card, which is a prepaid card typically used by people who don’t have bank accounts. These cards are readily available at stores like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.

After loading the card with money, the victim was told to call a phone number and give the card’s PIN number to the fake IRS employee.

According to Robbins, the victim complied with this request and in turn, lost thousands of dollars.

Robbins said that an initial investigation showed that the fraudulent IRS employee is located in a foreign country.

While prepaid phone scams aren’t necessarily new, this type of scam is becoming more prevalent.

Scammers will call and pretend to be a representative of the IRS or utility company, claim that they have a debt to pay off and then advise possible victims to buy Green Dot MoneyPak cards to pay off the debt.

Once the scammers have the card’s PIN number, they will transfer the funds to another card or account.

Scam artists prefer the Green Dot cards because they aren’t linked to bank accounts, and the funds on them are the same as cash and are untraceable.

Consumers can protect themselves from future fraudulent activity

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone or email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication such as email, text messages or social media. The IRS uses the federal mail system to send official business to citizens.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, if you owe taxes or think you might, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then immediately call the IRS if you think you’ve received a fraudulent phone call.

The IRS says that they never ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information related to credit cards or bank accounts.

Possible fraudulent IRS activity should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484, as well as your local law enforcement agency.

Be weary of any phone calls trying to collect a debt, and keep in mind that many credible organizations don’t accept payment from a prepaid card.

Senior citizens are considered easy prey for fraudulent activity, so keeping them informed about the latest types of  scams helps to keep them safe.

Huron Township Police will continue to investigate this incident.

 

Contact The Huron Hub’s Editor in Chief at ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

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Be aware of computer scam circulating Huron Township

Senior-Scam-Alert

By Scott Bolthouse

It’s not often that journalists like myself become the news story. In fact, journalists are content solely with reporting the news and not being in it.

However, something happened to me over the weekend that struck a cord in me, and you’ve probably been warned by about it in the past. I received a scam phone call, and the goal of the person on the other line was to gain access into my computer. Let me set the scene:

On Saturday afternoon, I received a phone call to my home phone from an unknown source. I don’t normally answer unknown calls, but my internet-based phone system has been receiving a lot of annoying traffic lately. My goal was to answer and request to be taken off of their call list.

Unfortunately my priority changed immediately once I started talking to the person on the other line. They claimed to be “from Microsoft”, and that they can see on “their side” that my computer may have issues.

Here come the red flags. First: I own a Mac, not a Windows computer. Second: being in my twenties, I have practically grown up with computers and technology. Whether it’s Apple, Microsoft, Android, iOS or any other system for that matter, I have a pretty good grasp of technology. I knew that there was no way the person on the other end could have any statistics about my computer on their screen.

After those flags came up and having that journalistic itch wanting more information, I played around with the caller for a few minutes (also known as “playing dumb”). They tried to get me to log onto a “remote access site” so that they could “take control and figure out what is going on with my computer”. Remote access of a computer refers to the process in which you give access to your computer to another person. Many reputable computer repair/technical assistance websites and firms do this on a regular basis. This allows the technician to work on your computer from their location. However, Someone with bad intentions can gain access to your personal information, documents, financials, and other things normally hidden from the public.

The catch here is that no one should ever contact you informing that they can see from their end that there are problems with your computer. These callers mask themselves as representatives from companies like Microsoft. However, Microsoft has made it very clear that they will never contact you regarding your device- ever.

My guess is that these people research call registries and make an attempt to take control of computers whose users may not be as up to date on technology: senior citizens. After researching my own phone number (which we’ve only had for maybe a year) the former owner was over the age of 70.

If anyone ever contacts you soliciting for information, repairs, or just to ask “are there any problems with your computer?” the best bet is to hang up immediately and inform your local police department. They keep records of events like these and frequently make press releases telling citizens to ignore and report these types of phone calls. Warn your senior citizen friends about this scam, as well. The age of the internet is a strange, enlightening, and sometimes scary place to dwell in; especially if you’re new to the arena.

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