Branch staff up to speed on IRS phone scams
/ SVP, West Wabash Avenue and Montvale Branch Manager
We teach our staff to keep an eye out for any situation that doesn’t seem right. To help assure we stay up to date on everything from fraud to bank products, we hold daily huddles in our branches. At a recent huddle, Pleasant Plains Universal Banker Ashley Pond was tasked with researching a topic and presenting to her coworkers.
Because it’s tax season, phone scams came to mind. She read an online article about a former CIA and FBI director who was targeted by someone claiming he had won a large prize. The “bad guy” knew everything about this man and his wife, but the one thing the scammer didn’t find in his research was that his target was a former director of both agencies. When the former director, age 94, and his wife recognized this prize was too good to be true, they contacted the FBI. After months of recording additional phone calls and learning the fraudster’s identity, the FBI was able to catch him. He was arrested and is serving prison time.
The Pleasant Plains staff were shocked that the fraudster tried to target the former CIA and FBI director. They chuckled among themselves because they thought he would have been the last person to be targeted. It just goes to show that anyone can be a target of a scam.
While researching phone scams, Ashley found additional articles on fraud filled with helpful information. She shared these facts with her colleagues:
- Fraudsters are trying to get personal information and want access to your money
- The IRS will never email or call you. Officials will always communicate by U.S. mail.
- Tax Day 2018 saw 143 million robo calls.
- Never return a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. Instead, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
- If you receive an unexpected and suspicious email from the IRS, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- File early.
Just like the IRS won’t call and ask you for personal information, neither will INB. We will never call or email you asking for identifying information such as your banking password.