They’re back: Telephone scammers

Yes, they have returned:  The IRS and National Grid are both warning of telephone scammers that call and demand fictional, past-due payment.

The IRS scammers1 are very specific; they call and threaten immediate arrest, loss of driver’s license, and seizure of assets.  They may leave a message requesting a callback; follow-up callers may pretend to be from the local police or the DMV.

Characteristics of these scams can include2:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.  (Note:  The IRS does not use email to contact taxpayers.)
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

Best advice:

  • Do not engage the caller in a conversation
  • Do not provide personal information
  • Hang-up the phone immediately
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040

National Grid3 will call and request payment and will notify of potential for service interruption due to non-payment, which makes it tougher to separate a legitimate call from a scammer.  If in doubt:

  • Ask the caller to provide the last five digits of your National Grid account
  • Do not provide your account number or any other personal information
  • Contact National Grid at 800-322-3223

1. Thank you to Nancy Goedecke, EA, of Taxes and Money Management who provided the notice on the IRS scammers.

2. Taken from“Dirty-Dozen”-Tax-Scams-for-2014;-Identity-Theft,-Phone-Scams-Lead-List.

3. Taken from National Grid’s July/August 2014 issue of WeConnect.