We have received a number of calls regarding scam phone calls from persons claiming to be with Medicare, the IRS, or other agencies and wanted to address the issue.
Many of these groups operate outside of the country where little can be done to put a stop to them or take action against them. They often use software that will generate fictitious telephone numbers or show the real number of someone else who is not involved. They will repeatedly work their way through lists of phone numbers often using computer or “robo” calls until they get someone to answer. The scammer will then try to claim the caller needs to give them personal information, wire money, buy gift cards and give them the card numbers and other methods to get money or information from them.
While the existence of these scam calls is an issue that local law enforcement can’t stop we do hope that we can help educate the community regarding them to prevent these scammers succeeding.
Some tips for protecting yourself:
1. If you don’t recognize the number don’t answer the call. You can check the messages to see who called and if it is a call you need to return. Also a lot of the software these scammers use will register that the call was answered so they know it is a working number with someone who will answer, likely resulting in even more scam calls.
2. Do not give out any personal information over the phone unless you are absolutely certain of who you are speaking with.
3. If someone calls you claiming to represent the IRS, Medicare, etc. and you think the call may be legitimate get off of the phone with the caller and contact that agency directly yourself.
4. Don’t make payments by gift card, prepaid cards, or wire transfer. These methods are often used by scammers as they are harder to trace.
5. If you can, use a call-blocking mobile app to screen your calls. Ask your phone service provider if they offer any blocking tools.
As is often the case technology often makes our lives easier in ways and more complicated in others.