MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – More than 3,000 scam reports were made to the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015, according to SCDCA. Imposter scams, where a person poses as an individual or organization a consumer knows in order to obtain personal information or money, made up over 40 percent of the reports.
According to the SCDCA, 700 of these calls were Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scammers demanding consumers pay taxes owed or suffer consequences such as deportation or arrest. Over 736,000 people across the U.S. have reported being contacted by IRS scammers since October 2013, resulting in $23 million in losses, according to the IRS.
With tax season upon us, The SCDCA wants consumers to be watchful of these calls and gives tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone. If you do not know who is calling, do not share your financial or personal information.
- Think before you act. Beware of time sensitive offers or scare tactics meant to push you to act before thinking. Remember, the IRS will not initiate contact about a tax issue via the phone or email. They will send you a letter in the mail.
- Hang up and follow up! If you receive a suspicious call, the best defense is to hang up, and follow up. Call a number you know legitimately belongs to the organization.
Be aware that imposter scammers may pretend to be a relative with an emergency, a representative from a well-known business, or a government official. If you are the victim of a scam call 1-800-922-1594 or complete a scam report form on the CONTACT US page at www.consumer.sc.gov, to report it to the SCDCA's Identity Theft Unit (IDTU).