You have a chance to win a free cruise or a lot of money, without doing anything. Sound too good to be true, that’s because most of the time it is. Scams come to us in many different facets of life, but what do you need to do if they come to you.
“Top three things: hang up on the robo-calls, don’t trust your caller ID, but do call and talk to someone that you trust before you make an important decision,” said former West Virginia U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld.
With most scams, Ihlenfeld informs me one thing they’re starting to see more often is scammers spoofing Caller IDs to make it seem like either Publisher Clearinghouse or the IRS are calling you, but that’s why he says to more or less be smart about it. And do NOT rush into anything.
“They’re going to pressure you and try to get you to make a decision right away,” Ihlenfeld told 7News Reporter Nick Conigliaro. “They’re going to want you to decide right then and there. And they’re even going to encourage you not to talk to loved ones, but you should.”
Bridge: Here’s the problem, what if you already gave away your personal information. What’s the next move?
Ihlenfeld tells me, first check your credit history and bank statements to see if you’ve been taken advantage of; and do this often. Next, contact your LOCAL authorities rather than going straight to D.C. because you’re less likely to get a quick response from D.C. Then, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at their website FTC.gov, and if it’s someone claiming to be the IRS inform them as well. And if you have lost money it’s even more important to contact authorities.
“To hopefully stop the person who’s doing it, and maybe recover the money you’ve invested, and that’s not easy,” Ihlenfeld said. “As someone who’s been involved in a lot of these cases, it’s not always easy to get your money back, but the investigators will try to do that.”
If you’d like to avoid scams altogether, unfortunately it’s still difficult. You can do everything possible to protect all your information, but places that do have your info like insurance companies or even Target that could be hacked and cause your info to be stolen.
“At that point in time you just have to be vigilant on your own, and keep an eye on your accounts and your own credit history,” Ihlenfeld told Conigliaro. “And if something does happen where it appears as if you’ve been a victim, to do something about it.”
Ihlenfeld went on to tell 7News another thing to look out for, especially this time of year is someone potentially filing a false tax return in your name. If that happens you have to immediately work with an accountant to clarify things with the IRS to try and solve the situation.