Just ask them...
For something identifying YOU. Follow up with a request for date of birth.
Otherwise: Fool, Money, soon parted.
US federal courts have alerted Americans to a fresh crop of scams in which conmen are setting up call centers and impersonating government agencies. The advisory describes how criminals are pretending to be US marshals and court agents, demanding victims hand over money for a supposed failure to appear for jury duty. "This …
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This has been going on for several years. I know several people that they have called; none of them fell for the scam but it is still very annoying. They are cowards who mainly prey on vulnerable elderly and spouses of recently deceased people who may be susceptible to this kind of scam. Still, good to have as much publicity as possible to make sure that everyone knows about the scam.
Here is one link from two years ago: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/scammers-continuing-pose-irs-agents
Also check out how much this scam (or at least the IRS variant) has been growing: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0519-irs-imposter-scams-infographic
I like to do that with phone scum too. I once had someone trying to get me to email or fax them financial information, I managed to keep them on the phone for an hour and a half. Firstly I continuously sent them emails (from a bs account, of course) with the attachment missing and acted surprised each time the guy I was talking to told me that there was no attachment. I then emailed a specimen that I got off of google images and which I pixelated to the point where it was just barely not legible. Then the upside-down version of same image, then sideways, then more pixelated. On to the fax machine...
He finally gave up on email and asked me to fax the information and, after the requisite seven minutes required to send a non-existent fax on a non-existent fax machine, I triumphantly told them that I had sent the fax. The person on the other end had to leave his desk to check the fax machine. He eventually got back and told me that he hadn't gotten the fax, so I "sent it" again. After about five attempts he asked me what the display on my non-existent fax machine said, I said "load error 372". He spent *forever* trying to trouble-shoot my fax machine I finally used an online faxing service to send them the same pixelated image from earlier, followed by 30 pages of pure black.
The person I was talking to, in spite of the pixelization, eventually realized that I was faxing him the wrong version of the document he was looking for and called me on it. I replied, through thinly veiled laughter "hold please" and proceeded to give myself a hernia as I listened to him screaming obscenities.
If we assume that the only successful scams/attacks/frauds/ ... / ... are the popular ones isn't it telling us something about the weaknesses in the system and meta-weaknesses too?
So should some well funded organization just make it easy to authenticate something as important as a legal document/message and email system to spot lack of authenticity?
Oh wait ...
have been targeted by calls claiming visa issues and they'll be held in prison/deported unless they pay. While it's obviously a scam to us, unfortunately paying the police/government to fast track things and sort out issues is normal over there, so they thought nothing of it. Luckily their bank stopped it and told them it was a scam when they've tried to pay.
One of the guys said they had enough information to convince them it was genuine, and everyone targeted all seem to use the same mobile provider who specialise in cheap overseas calls, so it might even be an inside job.
a number of indian IT professionals in our office
Maybe it would be a good time to data-mine the telco, its staff/employees/temps/ ... professional and personal comms and bank accounts?
As a PS one of my big fears is that BIG powers left in little hands without proper scrutiny (equally too much improper scrutiny) can just be a means and method into self interest. No?
But maybe that always was the intention (eg FBI on the Apple)
The Internet, and information technology have totally screwed us - most of the phone calls I get at work and at home these days are scams. Once upon a time the Internet was a beautiful youth, fresh with the idealism of the innocent - nowadays it's a broken old, crack addled, hack that needs a bullet in the front of the head.
Nothing legally binding happens over the phone (a verbal contract being worth the paper it's printed on, etc.).
Send me a letter. With a return address. Which I will verify.
As someone who HAS had court bailiffs knocking on my door (not looking for me, I hasten to add), they are infinitely more likely to turn up (and be happy for you to call police to verify identity, etc.) or send you a dozen letters first. Phone calls don't figure until after they've made first contact.
And emails? No. Let's not be silly.
Like all things, put your concern in writing and I'll deal with it, until then you're just some guy SAYING that I owe you money or I'm going to jail. Put it in writing and I can use it against you in a court of law (I imagine, and I have a reasonable way to deal with the situation in my own time. Until it's on paper, it doesn't matter what you promised me, what you say I owe you, or anything else. And the guys who come to your door bring paper if you're GENUINELY that elusive that you've missed months of communications, and are very understanding when you ask if it's okay to call the police to verify their identity and authority.
As someone who's invited companies to sue my person on several occasions, even offering to initiate in small claims on their behalf if necessary, I have yet to have anyone actually take me up on the practice once things are put in writing. Especially not the insurance company that tried to retroactively cancel my insurance and were mistaken to think I wouldn't keep the still-postmarked letter describing those actions, and another which said I "had nothing more to pay" quite clearly - letter which strangely they "could find no trace of in their system" until I was able to furnish them with copies.
However, I think it must have jogged their memory slightly as they switched from "We're going to take you to court" to "Please don't take us to court or report it to the financial authorities, here have some compensation".
Get it on paper. Until then, it literally DOES NOT EXIST.
One legal scam I hate are web sites that offer services such as passport, driving licence, visa renewals and similar. They simply accept all your details and forward them to the official government online service, but charge you twice as much. They are set up to feature prominently in a Google search and designed to appear as if they are the official route. Though I suppose it's little different to setting up an e-retail site that simply re-advertises products from Amazon at marked-up prices, and then buys from Amazon as and when a product is ordered, re-packages and forwards the goods to the buyer.
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