Beware of those asking for personal information

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2017

When we receive a call from an unknown number, most of the time we think twice about answering. More often than not, we answer the call and it turns out to be a person we know who wishes to contact us. But sometimes we might hear someone on the other side of the line tell us they work for the IRS and there is an issue with our tax returns. As a result of this claim, they need our personal information such as social security number, date of birth or a credit card in order to clear up the issue.

The fact the person on the other side of the phone, which we have never met, is asking us for such personal information, should cause us to see red flags. But when that person tells us if we don’t cooperate, we’ll be arrested in a matter of minutes, we might consider falling into their trap. These types of calls are “scams,” and should be handled carefully.

There are residents in Pearl River County who received these types of calls one time or another, but let’s not forget what they are truly scams. To begin with, the IRS does not ask for money over the phone; more than likely the agency will contact you through the mail if there is an issue with your tax return. Another tip when receiving these calls is to listen closely to see if person calling mentions your name or gender. A lot of these calls are simply pre-recorded messages played over and over to thousands of people across the state and country.

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The last step, which is the most important, is to simply hang up. As soon as you realize that you have received a call from a scammer report it to a Federal Trade Commission complaint assistant and they will take it from there.