By Brando Sencion, Program Coordinator
Recently I’ve been receiving multiple phone calls threatening to “suspend” my Social Security number because of illegal activity or unpaid taxes to the IRS. I’ve also asked collages and community members if they have received these calls, and they have. Beware, these calls are a scam!
The purpose of these calls is to obtain personal information about you or trick you into giving them money. In each situation the main objective of the caller is to financially harm you. By obtaining your personal information, the scammer can use that information to steal your identity. With your information that person can then apply for credit under your name, open accounts, or seek medical attention.
These calls are also known as phishing. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails or phone calls acting to be from a reputable company or organization in order to convince individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords, social security numbers, or credit card numbers.
One thing to note is that the IRS or Social Security Office usually (not always though) will contact you by first sending a letter. A phone call is possible, but government agencies tend to communicate with you by mail first. It is also important to note that if the person on the other side of the phone threatens to have you arrested or send police to your home it is more than likely a scam. Those types of threats are illegal and would not be made by a government employee.
Per the IRS website, the IRS will not:
If you have fallen victim to one of these phone calls, please refer to IdentityTheft.gov or IRS.gov for resources. Another proactive step you can take is to check your credit report for free on AnnualCreditReport.com, which allows you to check your report from all three credit bureaus every 12 months. Note you can choose to pull a report from one of the three credit bureaus and pull another two later down the road if needed.