Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Attorney General Thomas J Donovan Jr on Thursday released new information to alert Vermonters about a dramatic increase in reported scams. The alert outlines the “Top 10 Scams” of 2016. This week, March 5-11 is National Consumer Protection Week. The Federal Trade Commission, Attorneys General, consumer watchdog groups and advocates are promoting various ways that consumers can take steps to protect themselves.
“Scams are on the rise and we are raising the alarm for Vermonters,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan. “The number one reported scam is an IRS scam. As Vermonters prepare to file their taxes, we want to warn them and keep them informed,” he said. “If someone you don’t know calls or emails you: stop, verify, and report it. Don’t give out your personal financial information, and don’t be fooled,” he said.
Overall, the scams reported to the Vermont Attorney General last year increased by approximately 25%, from 5,896 to 7,364 reported complaints. These are the main scams reported in the last two years (see story with info-graphics HERE):
- IRS Scams (4,261 complaints).
- Computer Tech Support scams (463),
- Phishing scams (382)
- Debt collection scams (222), and
- Scams targeting businesses (197).
The IRS scam involves a telephone call saying you owe “back taxes” or outstanding payments are due to the government. Typically, callers claim to be “Internal Revenue Service”, “IRS”, and “US Treasury and Legal Affairs.” The Office of the Attorney General cautions Vermonters not to respond to these callers. If you think you may actually owe back taxes, hang up and contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
The Attorney General advises Vermonters who may be targets of scamming activity to report it to the Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) at 1-800-649-2424, or to go to the CAP website for more information on reported scams in Vermont: https://www.uvm.edu/consumer/?Page=scams.html
For more information about National Consumer Protection Week, go to the FTC website at: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/national-consumer-protection-week
Source: Vermont AG March 9, 2017. IRS scam tops list of top ten scams for 2016