The IRS scam seems to be not only the number one scam here on the gulf coast, it’s seems to be number one across the nation. Last month, the U.S. Treasury announced they saw a spike in complaints. Last year, a recorded 360,000 IRS scam calls were made. That shot up to now 900,000. Detective Laura Soulier with the sheriff’s office tells us why.
“Because it works! We are sending every dime that we have outside the United States to the scammers,” says Soulier.
A reported $26.5 million has been sent to IRS scam artists. If you get a call, be suspicious. The tipoff is if they say you’re going to be sued or arrested immediately if you don’t pay.
Another huge scam in our area has been the ransomware scam. All it takes is a click of the mouse on the wrong link. These links can be sent in emails made to look like your bank or cell phone company.
“Uh, 2015, we’ve had probably, I would venture to say several hundred clients who have had that problem,” says Kristine Barrett with Computer Crew.
“Some people were getting this big screen that comes up on their homepage, or if they tried to get on the internet or open a document. It says hey, you have no control over this. You need to call this number and pay this amount of money in order to have control over your computer and of your documents, your pictures,” says Barrett.
All you can do then is bring it in to an expert.
And a perennial favorite: the jury duty scam. This woman who didn’t want to be identified describes the phone call.
“He told me he was Deputy Sheriff Joe Johnson. He told me that I had failed to appear for jury duty. I was supposed to have been there Monday morning and that when judge Graddick, he used his name, Judge Graddick called roll I wasn’t there, then a pending warrant went out for me,” says the woman.
Moments that were terrifying for her.
“Someone tells you your going to be arrested, then, you panic!”
Best advice from experts, hang up the phone and call the real agency you believe is calling you and tell them. If it wasn’t a scam, they’ll let you know.