Ohh look – the IRS is calling!
So.. Spammers… Yeah.. They are SUPER annoying. It never fails, your about to sit down with the family for a meal and the phone rings with some number that looks VAGUELY familiar – you have a bad feeling, but you answer it anyway. Yup – its “insert spammer title here” calling again, and you hang up.
While most people just, sort of – deal with it, some peoples lives are ruined. I personally know an older lady that was taken for a ride in the form of a few thousand dollars in google play store gift cards when someone posing as the IRS called and said she owed the government back taxes. They even went as far as to google maps her address, find a store that sold the items, told her where to go, what to say to the teller, and what to say to the police if they showed up. They did. She said what she was told. The police left.
To me – this is a cardinal sin. This woman is the spitting image of “Nice, little old lady” that lives by herself and suffers from a SKEW of ailments that make everything she does difficult. She doesnt need someone trying to rob her ontop of all this.
So, what can we do?
Well – this is sort of a multi forked issue. And to start, you have to understand the types of SPAM phone calls that you can get. Primarily there are two.
1. The LEGAL ones. These are business that are just trying to get you to become a customer or buy their product to make a buck.
2. The ILLEGAL ones. These are the ones where someone says they are from the IRS or Microsoft and ultimately end with them trying to get you to give them money for some fee you don’t owe.
National Do Not Call Registry
This is a quick and useful ways to block most of the LEGAL phone spam you get, it takes a little while to start working once you sign up, but generally most real companies want to avoid fines from the GOV so they adhear to this list. Sign up here : https://www.donotcall.gov/
The best thing you can do is remember a few things:
1. The IRS is NEVER going to call you because you owe them money. You will get a letter in the mail if you owe them money.
2. Microsoft or other service providers generally DON’T care if you have a virus or spyware on your computer. And they are DEFINITELY not going to call you and offer you help to remove it.
3. If you DO get a phone call that you think could be legit, do a little home work. Get the name of the company and the phone number they say they should call you back at and do a quick google search, call a friend and ask them for their input, etc.
4. NEVER GIVE OUT SENSITIVE INFORMATION. Your social security number for example, is a CRITICAL bit of information that when paired with your name, address, and phone number can be a NIGHTMARE for you and a bunch of your money and hard earned credit for someone else.
There are some good apps out there that will help you identify and block spam phone calls. One that I have used for a while is Hya!
Hya runs on Android and Apple phones, it looks at all your incoming numbers and runs them through a database to see if its spam and lets you know. Simple as that.
Hiya – Apple Store : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hiya-caller-id-spam-blocker/id986999874?mt=8
Hiya – Google Play Store : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.webascender.callerid