Rep. Engel: Be Mindful of Phone Scams During Tax Season

Rep. Engel: Be Mindful of Phone Scams During Tax Season

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wants to remind constituents to be on the lookout this tax season for phone scammers who call looking for personal or financial information, especially when claiming to be from the government.

“Tax season is stressful enough without having to worry about someone trying to scam you over the phone,” Congressman Engel said. “These phone scammers prey on anxiety and fear, often by posing as government officials calling with promises of additional refund money, so long as the individual provides them with personal information or a credit card number. Others may pose as IRS agents who claim the agency requires additional money to make up for wrongly filed tax returns. Those who receive such calls should not divulge any personal information and report the phone number to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately.

“Recently, my office has been alerted to calls being made claiming to be from the U.S. government. They say that by sending $250 you will receive a $9000 government grant. Please remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

According to the FTC, there are several red flags to look out for when spotting phone scams, such as – but not limited to – the examples below. If you hear the following lines, be extremely careful when discussing personal information:

·  You've been specially selected (for this offer).

·  You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product.

·  You've won one of five valuable prizes.

·  You've won big money in a foreign lottery.

·  This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.

·  You have to make up your mind right away.

·  You trust me, right?

·  You don't need to check our company with anyone.

·  We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.

“Scammers will sometimes falsify the name and phone number that appears on your caller ID to make their scheme seem more credible,” Engel added. “In 2010, my Truth in Caller ID Act was signed into law, making it illegal to use fake caller ID information to carry out fraud. While this was a positive step towards providing better consumer protections, we must remain on guard for people who use phones to scam people out of their hard earned money.”

If you believe you have received a phone scam call, quickly hang-up the phone and report the scam to the FTC. Scams can be reported by visiting or by calling 1-888-382-1222.