Yesterday, I received a Phone call. I didn’t check the number at the time. I later looked at my phone and the number was from (876)-321-3946 (Jamaica). The gentleman told me that I had won 6.5 Million Dollars and a New BMW. He then asked if I was excited about this. I asked him to repeat himself, and he did. Mind you I did not enter any contest, which is the first indicator that this is a SCAM. He then asked if I was near a western union, I was about two block from one. I told him “No”. He went on to say that the IRS required that I fill out a form…blah blah blah. In my mind, I was thinking “The IRS doesn’t use Western Union”. He went on to say that the IRS required me to pay some type of fee …blah blah blah. The was the other big key to this being a SCAM. See if you win a cash prize, you are required by the IRS to list it on your income taxes, you do not pay penalties and taxes before you received the fund, however since your winnings are reported to the IRS, they know what you won.
I’m sure several of my readers have receive scam calls. I know I received about 20 of the IRS Scam calls. That’s the one that wants to scare you by informing you that you are about to be arrested by the IRS unless you wire them money right away (Click here to learn more). There is also a Government Grant Scam you need to be aware of.
The calls the one I receive depends on two factors from my end. The first is Greed. Free MONEY. Free Millions. I mean that’s why like of people play the lottery. For $1 I can possible be a millionaire, however, usually someone you don’t know may win. At least we know there are winners, but the odds are the winner won’t be you. The second factor for this scam is stupidity or ignorance of the law. See the scammer threw around the ‘IRS’ term several times to make themselves sound legitimate. Fortunately, I do my own taxes, so I know you pay taxes based on what you have received in your hands, not the promise of money.
According to IRS regulations you don’t pay taxes to enter a sweepstakes. You should not pay to play a sweepstakes. In addition, sweepstakes prizes and gambling wins must be reported and are taxed differently. If a sweepstakes sponsor tries to withhold some of your winnings, you need to take extra care that you are not dealing with a sweepstakes scam.
The IRS requires that you report your sweepstakes winnings as “Other Income” no matter what the value. Also, remember, too, that although sweepstakes sponsors must file a 1099 form for prizes over $600, they can report prizes of any amount to the IRS. If a sponsor reports you as a winner but you don’t report the prize on your taxes, the IRS might notice the discrepancy and investigate your taxes.
Things You Can Do to Avoid Being Scammed
- Spot Deception. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
- Learn the Facts: Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine along the with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
- Seeing is NOT Believing -Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
- Don’t buy a pig in a poke! – Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like lottery winnings, debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take your money and disappear.
- Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards like MoneyPak Reloadit or Vanilla. Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
- Talk to a real person. – Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend. If you are like me and you suspect something, give them fake information. I have a whole fake persona that I have complete with name, birthday, SSN, and I use an old address.
- Terminate robocalls. – If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Be suspicious about free trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize. This is especially true of internet and radio ads.
- Don’t deposit a check you receive and wire money back. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you receive from a company is deposited into your account turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank. This is a well-known scam of sweepstakes, and job offers.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.
If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring crooks to justice.
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