Update: ABC 7 KVIA reports, “In a first-of-its kind nationwide takedown, the Justice Department announced charges Thursday against 61 defendants in the United States and abroad in connection with call center operations based in India. As agents fanned out across the country to make arrests, officials in Washington said they wanted to alert the public that the calls are all part of a scam.”
You may have noticed a lull in scam calls over the past few weeks, and we’re happy to say it’s not a coincidence, fluke, or miracle. Just as we hoped and suspected, thanks to the IRS scam bust in India earlier this month, there has been a significant drop in IRS scams in a matter of weeks!
The IRS scam is amongst one of the worst scams Hiya has seen affecting consumers. The scam continued to grow in size, month after month, affecting a significant amount of consumers, peaking in mid-September.
“[IRS scams are] 32% more popular than the next most common scam, telemarketers,” said Jonathan Nelson, Hiya product manager. “In fact, IRS scams had been the most popular since the beginning of August.”
Due to the handy work of the Mumbai police, and their recent partnership with the FBI, both Hiya’s Reputation data team and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have seen the IRS scam plummet over a three-week period. It is now at 3% of the level it was at its height in mid-September, dropping it to the 9th most popular scam.
Just because India has made a number of arrests, doesn’t mean that we can all rest easy. Before you know it, the next wave of scammers can fly under the radar and infiltrate our phones. The best way to steer clear from being a scammer’s next victim is to:
- Not always believe what you hear or see. We have all had that feeling that there’s never enough time in a day. It’s important to remember that government agencies like the IRS or FBI do not have time to make unexpected calls and won’t demand direct payment over the phone without billing you first.
- Keep your personal information to yourself. Remember when your parents used to tell you not to talk or give strangers your name and address? As an adult, same thing goes with your Social Security number, bank accounts, or other sensitive information. By limiting where you share your personal information and number, the less likely you’ll be targeted by scammers.
- Screen your calls. If a number doesn’t look familiar to you, it’s best not to pick it up immediately and to wait for them to leave a voicemail. If they don’t leave a message, and you have that burning desire to know who the unknown caller could be, look the number up online or use a caller ID app that will reverse search the number and identify if it has been flagged as a scam caller.
- Report Scammers. If you suspect that you’ve received a call from an IRS scam, prevent yourself and others from becoming victims by filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the IRS.