Thursday September 17, 2015

Phone scam? Here's how you know.

By Dean Halter, UDit IT Risk Management Officer

By Dean Halter, UDit IT Risk Management Officer

Have you or members of your family received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, Microsoft, Law Enforcement, etc. claiming that you are delinquent, in need of computer support, have a warrant out for your arrest or someone you know is in jail, etc. and offering to fix whatever ails you? Don't fall for it.

Listen in on a recording of one such call at www.csoonline.com/article/2984652/social-engineering/call-recording-on-listen-as-an-irs-scammer-threatens-us-with-arrest-if-money-isnt-paid.html.

My wife and I have received multiple calls from bad guys pretending to be with the IRS and I have to convince her each and every time that it's fraudulent and that the IRS would never contact us in this manner.  "According to figures released by Inspector General's office earlier this year, there have been roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013, and nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million because of the scam."  Similarly, a friend was called at home to let him know he was going to be arrested on an outstanding warrant unless he paid some fee.  Just like the IRS, law enforcement officials will never call you and demand payment for back taxes, a warrant fee or any other sort of bill over the phone.
 
In another case, I was called down to the UDit Service Desk to examine a student's machine.  The student had gotten a popup while browsing on the Internet that said he had a virus on his Apple computer and should call tech support at some number.  The student did so and "tech support" installed "security" software.  While the bad guys did not charge for this service, I'm sure their plan was to surreptitiously take control of the computer, steal the student’s personal and financial information, etc.
 
If you receive one of these, you should hang up, delete the email or close the popup immediately.  If you are worried, you can always verify the calls legitimacy thru the agency the bad guys are pretending to be with - either the IRS (800-829-1040) or your local police department.  I wouldn't even waste my time verifying IT support cold calls.
 
If you want more information or ever want help in evaluating a suspicious call, email or other communication that you receive, please contact the UDit Service Center at 937-229-3888 or itservicecenter@udayton.edu.  
 
 
References
www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-of-Phone-Scam
www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Phone-Scams-Continue-to-be-Serious-Threat-and-Remain-on-IRS-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-for-the-2015-Filing-Season
www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/scammers-impersonate-police
www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams

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