Current Scam Information

Scam-Alert.pngHere's a brief rundown of some of the latest scams that are floating around. Much of the information has been obtained from the Federal Trade Commission Scam Alerts web page.

IRS Scam Call Warning Just Got A Bit Confusing

This scam continues to thrive. DON'T FALL FOR IT!! Most people are doing the correct thing - hanging up. However, the callers will occasionally reach someone that for any number of reasons is not aware of the scam or the real way that the IRS operates.

The caller (sometime a recording) will probably tell you that you owe back taxes and will threaten to have you arrested, deported, a lawsuit filed against you, whatever it takes to get you to pay. Sometimes potential victims will even receive a follow-up phone call from someone claiming to be the police or other agency. We heard from one Vernon Hills resident that received 5 calls in one day. Each time the resident was threatened with a law suit and was instructed to call back during specific hours. And don't be fooled because your caller ID says that the caller is from the IRS. That can be rigged.

Now, the confusing part....In spring 2017 the IRS started using several private collection services to call taxpayers who owe back taxes. However, the taxpayer will first receive written notice that the service will be used. Also, and more important, the private service WILL NOT be asking for immediate payment as outlined above. If you hear anything like this - HANG UP immediately and give them nothing.

Here's a scary twist to these calls...

During one call, a resident did confirm her phone number (fortunately, nothing else). Shortly afterward she received a phone call and the caller ID said the call was from us - VHPD. The resident did not answer it.

So, what's the police angle? Sometimes scam calls will be followed up with another scam claiming to be the police investigating the scam. The second caller might state that as part of the police investigation, they need some personal information. DON'T BELIEVE IT! The police will not ask for personal sensitive information over the phone. If need be they will knock on your door and show you identification.

Here's a recent IRS document that has some good information on the issue. It includes a list of things that the IRS WILL NEVER do (such as calling the local police and/or asking for credit/debit card numbers over the phone.) It also provides phone numbers for who to call if you wish to report the call(s). PLEASE READ IT.

(Updated 3/29/17)

Employment Scam Targeting College Students

The FBI is warning college students not to fall for an employment scam that is found online. In the scam, the student will receive a check in the mail and be instructed to deposit it and send a portion via wire transfer to another individual for equipment, materials, etc. Afterwards, the student finds out that the original checked that was received is fraudulent. To read more about this scam... click here.
(Posted 1/23/17)

Yahoo Customer Service Scam

Do you have a Yahoo account? If so, pay attention! If you need to contact Yahoo customer care, do not try to do it by phone. There are ways to contact customer care (including email and chat), but phone is not one of them. If you do an Internet search and find a phone number, it's bogus. You will probably be asked for a fee and the fact is that Yahoo customer care is always free.
(Posted 1/5/17)

Grandparent Scam Making the Rounds

We've heard from more than one resident that has received a call referred to as the "grandparent scam". Like most scams, the variations are seemingly endless, However, the caller/scammer will claim to be a grandchild and will say that he/she is in some kind of trouble (arrested, mugged, in an accident, etc.) and needs money immediately.

Sometimes the caller will trick the victim into providing information that helps the caller such as "Hi Grandma, it's your favorite grandson." "Is that you James?" "Yes Grandma, it's James. I need help, but don't tell mom and dad."

Please take a moment and instruct your relatives and loved ones not to fall for these calls. They should hang up and try to call the grandchild at a number that they know is legitimate.
(Posted 11/8/16)

Affordable Care Act Twist to IRS Scams

Here's one of the newest twists to the IRS scams! This one involves scammers emailing attachments that are fraudulent CP2000 tax documents relating to the Affordable Care Act. The email will include a payment address and a payment link. The IRS DOES NOT send these tax documents via email, but rather though the USPS.
(Posted 10/18/16)

iTunes Gift Cards

Here's the latest angle that scammers are using to get you to pay them. They might ask you send them iTunes gift cards as payment. Read more.
(Posted 5/11/16, 7/7/16)

Scammers Also Target College Students

No age group is immune from being a potential target for a scammer. College students are also being contacted and told that they owe a "federal student tax" - which doesn't exist. As with other phone scams, give them nothing and hang up. Read more.
(Posted 5/30/16)

An Alarming Phone Call
A Vernon Hills resident called to tell us she had received a phone call from a woman claiming to be with a (generic sounding) security company. The caller said that there had been a lot of false alarms and started asking questions about her home security system including her security code. Our resident said nothing and hung up. She asked us to pass her experience along. With pleasure - and thank you for sharing! We want everyone to do what she did - hang up! The criminal behind those calls might just be sizing up your home. Even worse, you might inadvertently tell the caller that you don't have a security system, which is obviously the last thing to tell a stranger over the phone.
(Posted 4/28/16)

ComEd Scam Also Targets Businesses

We've gotten calls from a couple small Vernon Hills businesses have received a call from someone claiming to be from ComEd. The caller stated that ComEd is owed money and that if it is not paid (via pre-paid card) the power will be shut off in 30 minutes. If you know of a small business owner/manager, please share this with them. If such a call is received, give them nothing and hang up! If for some reason you have reason to question it, look up the number yourself and call ComEd.
(Posted 4/18/16)

It's OK To Be Rude

This article from the FTC sums it all up perfectly.

(Posted 4/23/15, 4/5/16)

Your Email Has Been Hacked - Trust Us!

You've probably heard about the phone calls that some people receive in which the caller claims that the victim's computer is being "taken over" and that the caller can fix it. All that need is payment AND remote access to your computer.

Lately, some people have received calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. The caller says that your email has been hacked and that they will have to take enforcement action, unless you let them fix the problem immediately. The callers have gone so far as to give out the phone numbers to real FTC staff. Also, the Global Privacy Enforcement Network is a legit organization, but but with a different mission. (But we know better than to tell them anything or give them remote access to your computer, don't we?) Read more.
(Posted 4/5/16)