Beware Collections Calls
We all want to make sure our bills are paid on time, our taxes are filed correctly and our budget doesn’t have any unforeseen shortfalls. No matter how well we have our finances squared away, a call from a utility company or even the IRS can make us double check and doubt our well-oiled process. It’s this attention to detail and desire to get everything right that scammers will try to use for their own gain.
The most common tactic scammers will use is to make contact claiming to be from the IRS or a utility company. They will demand immediate payment and even try to get all your personal information while they’re at it. Sometimes they can even dangle the possibility of arrest or frozen assets to turn up the pressure. Who wouldn’t respond to such a message?
Confirm Before Paying
Fortunately, on the off chance you’re contacted with a message like this, either by phone, email, or even social media, the power is entirely in your hands. Before you do anything the person on the other end says, always confirm their story. If they claim to be from a utility company, simply call the company directly at the number printed on your bill. If they claim to be from the IRS, call 1-800-366-4484 to talk to an actual IRS employee and see if the message you received is correct.
Stopping a scammer in their tracks is as simple as that. Another important fact to bear in mind is that utility companies and the IRS will not initiate contact with you looking for personal information. They won’t send emails, make calls, or message you over social media looking for payment either. As a taxpayer, and a customer of a utility you have certain rights, and the right to confirm a request for payment is one of them.
You Have The Power
If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS or a utility company, don’t be alarmed. Making a simple phone call to confirm whether you have been contacted by a scammer is all you need to do to protect your money and your personal information. GECU members who think they might have given their money or their personal information to a scammer are encouraged to call 778-9221, or toll-free 1-800-772-4328.
To learn more about this year’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams, click here.