Telemarketing scams have returned in earnest after a long period of inactivity. Today, the biggest target market for these type of scams are seniors.  Here are examples of the types of telemarketing scams making the rounds today across America:

GRANT FROM THE STIMULUS PACKAGE

The way this scam works is you will receive a call from a person who says they are with either HUD or Health and Human Services (HHS). They tell you that as a senior you qualify for a grant of $25,000 from their agency as part of the stimulus plan passed by Congress. You can use this grant money for prescription drugs, medical expenses, or to assist you with your utility bills. All you have to do to qualify is make a $350 donation to the charity they name. They give you the instructions on how you are to make this donation. They give you the name of the charity and the person with their contact information to whom you are to wire the money. You are to wire the money Western Union, and then they will either have you call them to give them the Western Union account number and wiring number, or they will call you back in two days to confirm you wired the money and the account details.

After you call them, or they call you, you will never hear from them again, and of course you will not receive your $25,000 check. The charity they gave you to wire the money to does not exist. The person to whom you were to wire the money does not exist and is a fake name. The only thing that is real is the $350 dollars you wired to them, and of course you lost as it is not recoverable.

Please make sure you let all your senior citizen friends and family members know about this scam so they won’€™t become a victim. If you have any questions about this scam, please contact us.

MISSED JURY DUTY – WARRANT ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST

You receive a telephone call claiming that you missed jury duty and a warrant for your arrest has been issued.  You can avoid being arrested if you pay your fine immediately by wiring the money for your fine and the warrant will be cancelled.  Failure to pay the fine within the timeline they give you will result in your being arrested when the deadline expires.

No such warrant exists.  It is all a lie to get you to wire an unknown entity several hundred dollars.  Once the money is wired, it is not recoverable.  Do not fall for this and hang up.  If you have any questions about this scam, please contact us.

YOU OWE THE IRS BACK TAXES/DELINQUENT TAXES – WARRANT ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST

You receive a telephone call from a person who claims they are an agent of the IRS and you owe outstanding back taxes.  A warrant has been issued for your arrest and you only have a very limited amount of time to pay the back taxes or you will be arrested.  The only way you can avoid being arrested is to wire the amount of your back taxes due.  The problem with this scam is this one is for thousands of dollars, not hundreds of dollars.  Once your money is wired, it is not recoverable.

Just like the Missed Jury Duty Warrant, this too is a lie and you do not owe back taxes. If you did, the IRS would send you an official letter advising you that you need to contact your local IRS office and set an appointment to discuss with an agent.  Do not fall for this and hang up. If you have any questions about this scam, please contact us.

YOUR GRANDCHILD IS IN JAIL AND NEEDS BAIL MONEY

You will receive a phone call late at night from a person claiming to be our grandson or granddaughter who is in jail and needs your help in bailing them out.  They don’t want Mom and Dad to know about it, so please wire the money so they can get out of jail and they will pay you back when they get home.  The person calling will have a young voice and when you answer will just say “Grandma or  Grandpa” depending on which of you answers the call, and when you ask if they are (the name of your grandchild), they will say yes so you believe it is them calling you.

Here’s what happens if you do fall for this and wire the money.  Early the next morning you will get another call from the same person who pretended to be your grandchild telling you that there have been additional fees that have to be paid before they can be released.  So they need you to wire more money to them so they can get out of jail.  In short, they will keep adding on fees as long as you are willing to wire the money.  Once your money is wired, it is not recoverable.  It is a scam and do not fall for it. Just hang up.  If you have any questions about this scam, please contact us.

VIRTUAL KIDNAPPING

You get a call from a person who tells you that a member of your family was in a minor accident with them. They are fine, but they need to pay for the damages to the car they hit.  They explain that they are a gang member and cannot go to the police to file a report or their insurance company, so you need to cover the cost of the damage or they will hold your family member as hostage until it is paid.  They will give you a veiled threat that if the money for the damages is not paid within a certain time frame, your relative could be hurt.  It is all designed to scare you into thinking your relative will be hurt if you don’t pay the damages, and of course to wire the money.  Once you wire the money it is not recoverable.  It is all a lie.  Just hang up. If you have any questions about this scam, please contact us.

MICROSOFT COMPUTER VIRUS

You receive a call from a person who says they are a Microsoft Technician and that your computer has been infected with a virus and malware. The implication is they work for Microsoft, but they do not. They ask you to give them access to your computer so they can clean the virus and malware off your computer. Of course they will perform these tasks for a fee and you pay them by credit card.  What happens is that when you give them access to your computer, they will install a virus and malware to activate at some point in the future, thus requiring you to contact them to have them remove the virus and malware from your computer, and continue to steal money from you.

Your computer never had a virus or malware on your computer. Since they do not work for Microsoft, there is no way they would be able to tell if your computer had a virus/malware on it. The whole purpose is to 1. Make you think they work for Microsoft and 2. scare and trick you into believing your computer is infected.  If you have a good virus/malware protection on your computer, it will tell you if you have a virus/malware and your software program will fix it for you.  If you do not have a virus/malware software program on your computer, you need to get one immediately. Today it is critical for your computer to have this protection.