Telemarketing Complaints plummet following IRS imposter scam raid

first_img Next Do Not Call list sign-up deadline is Nov. 15INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said nearly 3,500 complaints were filed with his office this year about the IRS imposter scam, making it the predominant telephone privacy complaint of 2016.  However, since a raid in India last month breaking up the telemarketing ring, complaints have dropped significantly from nearly 500 in September, to just 67 in October. Phone scams offering credit services and tech support services are the second and third most common complaints this year. In early October, Indian police arrested 70 people in Mumbai responsible for the so-called Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposter scam.  In late October, the U.S. Justice Department arrested 20 alleged co-conspirators in this country. In the scam, callers claim to be with the IRS and demand immediate payment of past-due taxes. Scammers often threaten arrest and jail time if the payment is not received immediately, and sometimes request that the money be paid through the purchase of pre-paid cards. “The criminal enforcement actions in India and the U.S. have provided Hoosiers much appreciated relief. But these scams are like Whack-a-Mole, and I expect we will see another one pop up in its place,” Zoeller said. “Hoosiers can’t let their guard down and need to continue to be vigilant in not offering their personal or financial information when contacted by phone. It just isn’t reliable or safe to assume someone trustworthy is contacting you.” More than 14,000 Hoosiers complained to the Attorney General’s Office about unwanted calls this year, an increase of nearly 1,000 complaints from all of 2015, which is attributed to the IRS scam. Zoeller said the best way for people to know whether a call they are receiving is a scam is by registering their number on the Do Not Call list. Legitimate companies will not call numbers on the Do Not Call list, so if someone is on the list and is receiving unsolicited contact, it is likely a scam. The next quarterly deadline to register cellular and landline residential phone numbers on the Do Not Call list is midnight EST on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The updated list will take effect Jan. 1, 2017. To sign up or to confirm a number is on the Do Not Call list, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1.888.834.9969. Consumers do not need to re-register unless their address has changed. To achieve compliance with Indiana law, telemarketing companies may obtain a copy of the list from the Attorney General’s Office. Avoid getting scammed over the phone by following these tips:Don’t let a telephone solicitor pressure you to make an immediate decision.Ask for a caller’s contact information and tell them you will call them back. Verify that the number they give you is tied to a legitimate company or agency by doing your own research.Know that most government entities, including the IRS, will not initiate contact over the phone. Additionally, they will never ask you for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone.Do not wire any money or make payments over the phone unless you have independently verified the caller.Check unfamiliar companies with the AG’s Office or the Better Business Bureau before agreeing to a purchase.Hang up on recorded message calls or “robocalls.” Don’t press any numbers. Additionally, Zoeller urged Hoosiers to take advantage of available call-blocking options to help stop scam calls. The Attorney General’s Office created a non-exhaustive, call-blocking reference sheet to inform the public about available options and encourage development of new options. This reference sheet outlines various call-blocking applications and information about each option, including who is able to use it, the cost, benefits, and weaknesses, and how to get it.People who receive an unwanted call or are targeted by a phone scam can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or calling 1.800.382.5516.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

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