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Beware the phony phone call

Editor,

The other day my cell phone rang while I was in the shower and I missed the call but seeing that the number was from the Washington DC area, I called it back. A male with a heavy Indian accent answered, "IRS, may I help you?" I explained who I was and he said, "Let me look you up and see if we called you." I gave him my name and he then explained that, unfortunately, they were going to have to arrest me because I had never picked up the certified letter they had sent me. I told him that I had never received any notice of a certified letter from the IRS regarding this matter and what was it in reference to? He told me that I should retain an attorney as I was going to be served with a warrant. I was a bit flustered because as everyone knows, you don't mess with the IRS, and I was surprised by these allegations. I replied, "Why don't you send me the letter you're referring to?" but he replied, "We are done with the letters, this call is to inform you that we are proceeding with the legal suit." I then began to smell a rat.

I told him that I don't know who you are but I believe you are not the IRS and I am going to call the IRS right now and verify all that you have just told me. He said, "You won't have time because you are going to be arrested right now." I laughed and then told him that I have his number and I was going to have him arrested for fraud and he hung up on me.

Telephone scams seem to be proliferating and it must be because they are successful in defrauding unsuspecting victims. Recently my mom, who is 89, got a call from the electric company threatening to turn off her power in 30 minutes if she didn't pay her outstanding bill right now. My mom was so rattled, she gave them her credit card info. Luckily, she then she called me and I had the card canceled. Two days later, someone tried to buy $400 worth of goods at Walmart.com. It was declined, but they contacted her to verify. End of story?... no. Two weeks later, she called me to let me know that my son was in a Mexican jail and needed bail money. I walked to his room and asked him if he was in a Mexican jail and he laughed and told me it was a scam. My mom really believed he was in a Mexican jail. She was supposed to send money, but she told them she was going to call me, even thought the person said not to let dad know. They hung up...way to go mom! We've since changed her number and made it private.

These calls are going to continue and the best thing we can do is to raise the awareness of everyone, but especially the elderly, whom they seem to like to prey on because of their vulnerability.

If you get a call from someone who you don't know. Just hang up after you determine you don't know them. Once they start to weave their narrative, they will slowly wrap you in lies and fear and soon you will be their new prey. Never give your Social Security number, credit card number or bank account information to anyone over the phone, unless you made the call. Be vigilant because there are a lot of bad people out there who have no morals and will take your money from if you let them. Do not be a victim and always guard your identity.

Dan Searle

San Marcos Record

P.O. Box 1109
San Marcos, Tx 78666
Phone: 512-392-2458
Fax: 512-392-6483