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Avoiding Phone Scams

"IRS" Phone Calls:

Some scam calls or emails claim to be from the IRS. The IRS has a guide to help you decide if it is a scam:
https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/scam-phone-calls-continue-irs-identifies-five-easy-ways-to-spot-suspicious-calls


If you feel indimidated:

Sometimes web pages may cause alarm by displaying your personal information if you are logged into Facebook or Google or similar sites, even when you are not on those sites, or show files from your computer. However, the scammer's web page can cause your computer to display that information without the scammer really having that information. If you feel your Facebook account or email account is being used by someone else, or that different pages that you typed appear, first make sure you have a professional remove any keyloggers that could steal your password and rootkits that could redirect you, then change your passwords (or use a clean computer and change them it right away; and write them down or store them in an encrypted file such as using KeePass Classic Edition on a clean computer, so you don't forget and so the passwords aren't in a regular file that can be read by a virus or hacker) or delete your Facebook account or Email account if you are unable to block the harassment (such as if they use many different accounts to contact you), but even then make sure you change the password using a clean computer first so the account can't be reactivated by someone else. You can always change your email address with your internet provider, or make a free email account such as at gmail.com. If you believe your phone is hacked (normally only a smartphone can be hacked), you can always backup your photos and other information, then reset the phone to factory defaults and make a new Google or Apple account and put the new account into the phone.

Don't be intimidated by scammers even if they have your phone number. Remember, if they are in other countries, for that reason they cannot sue you or harm you even if they have your location. Even American scammers, such call saying you won something for which you didn't enter may intimidate you. However, they do not have a strong motive to bother to sue you or come to your location, since if you tell them to stop calling and you hang up, they will eventually realize they are just wasting their time--especially since they are a scam and aren't used to using valuable skills or doing hard work for their money. Don't feel sorry for them or feel like you are doing wrong if you don't pay a scammer that you have never met and have no reason to trust.


Phone Calls Asking for Help or Money Transfers:

If you receive a phone call saying to help someone send money in exchange for part of it, or that you owe the money and will be arrested, or for Microsoft or another company to remove viruses from your computer or phone, it is fake.

Just tell them to wait while you write down on a piece of paper SCAM then write their phone number from caller ID, say something like, "I'm not interested, take me off your call list," then hang up immediately. Do not listen to them any longer, nor speak to them if they call again. Hang up, and if you are still concerned, make sure you keep the phone number and you can send it to a local professional in that topic the call was about (such as computer support or tax services) who you trust and can help you. Scammers sometimes alter their outgoing phone number to appear to be a real government phone number. Remind the professional of that and send them the entire IRS link above when you give them the phone number from caller ID.

Be cautious of what seem to be easy roads to success, and of roads that do not involve getting help from sources that are commonly known to be trustworthy.


DISCLAIMER: Use this guide at your own risk. This information is provided without warranty or acceptance of liability.