Tractor Treachery, Tax Season Scandals, and Phishing Frauds

March 14, 2017

BBB serving Northern Indiana

Marjorie Stephens, CEO and President, at 260.918.2067
Andrea Henry, BBB Business Services & Retention Manager, at 260-918-2062
Susan Firestine, Operations Manager, at 260-918-2070

March 2017 Tips

This list is current as of February 28 2017. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of the company. For complete information, please visit

1. “Tractor reduced to $2000 for quick sale.” An ad was placed on Craig’s list to sell a tractor that was normally appraised at $15,000. The seller was leaving within the next couple of weeks for the “Army Brigade.” To purchase the tractor, the buyer was to make arrangements with Amazon, who then would contact them. – ALWAYS be suspicious if someone online wants you to deal with a third party of their choice to conduct a business transaction.

2. Privacy Act and IRS Fraud. A caller told BBB she had an IRS impersonator on the phone all day. He told her that she had committed fraud and owed the IRS $50,000, telling her she could get up to 3 years in jail. Talking to anyone about the violation is illegal and goes against the Privacy Act. The impersonator told her to avoid going to court, she must pay $3786 right away with iTunes gift cards!

3. Tax season is open season for frauds. At least one person received a text message claiming to be from the IRS, stating that one’s Tax Return was accepted by the IRS. The text said, “Call 866-730-2274 within 21 days to see when refund will be accepted by the bank. Enter 9 digit SSN.”

4. “Can you hear me” calls. Con artists are calling the public with the intention of recording individuals saying the word “Yes.” From there they reuse the recording in attempts to make purchases. Some calls are disguised as a winning trip, where the caller will ask, “Is your name…?” If you say, “Yes,” the caller hangs up. Other calls appear to be from a Warranty Processing Center, and the caller will try and entice victims to say the word “Yes” for the same reason. BBB advises that if you are not familiar with a number, let the call go to voice mail. Jot down the contact information of the company and check them out at or by calling us.  Should you say “Yes,” watch your bank statements, phone bill, and credit card. If you see any unauthorized purchases, address them with creditors immediately.

5. You’ve heard of “Rachel” from Card member Services? Now, it might be Heather. Automated calls are being received offering to lower one’s credit card interest. Should you like to be removed from the calling list, the automated greeting says to press “2.” Pressing “2” in no way gets you off the hook. Con artists will keep calling until they reach you. Pressing “2” indicates that the automated call reached a “live” person.

6. Text message from Department of Health & Human Services. A text message from the government…red flag! The IRS supposedly was giving away $50,000. Another red flag. When the fraud called the consumer, they asked for $500 in exchange for the money. The consumer had only $40, but was asked by the “government” official how soon she could come up with $100. The individual who received the text message had a Facebook message from a long-time friend who had claimed to have received this money from the Dept. of Health & Human Services in cash. Most likely, her real friend’s Facebook account was hacked.

7. Overcharges from Chase Bank – not true. If you pay $350 by Apple card, you can receive $11,000 from the IRS for 10 years of overcharges from Chase Bank. The fraud is after a bank account and routing number AND money sent via Apple card. Promises are made to reimburse the money. What is alarming about this call is the fake IRS representative knew the person’s name, address, and social security number.

8. Western Union saved the day! A house was available for rent on Craig’s List. A woman was looking to rent, and supposedly the key was being shipped to her, in exchange for a deposit. It was to be sent via Western Union money transfer. Western Union flagged the transaction, which saved the woman her money. Also she checked with Fedex about the key being shipped, and there was no evidence that any key was on its way, etc. Be on the watch for similar scams!

9. Indiana Michigan Power alerts consumers that imposters are calling. If someone calls threatening to disconnect your bill due to nonpayment, it’s not Indiana Michigan Power! Hang up, and call 800-311-4634.

10. Phishing attacks. Here is a report coming by email: “If you receive a suspicious email regarding Square, forward it to to report the incident.” Do not include any other information in the email you forward. The appropriate team will investigate and take action if needed.

11. Facebook “friends” notifying winners of sweepstakes?? Consumer called indicating received a message on Facebook from “a friend.” This “friend” had $150,000 and wanted the consumer to call this number (636-334-6970) so she could have money too. When the consumer called the number, she spoke to Martin Hosey, who alleged to work for the United Nations Commission. He explained it was an organization that sets up people to receive money from all over the world. He said her name was on a list, and she would receive cash.

The consumer asked her friend to call her, but he indicated he was receiving a lot of calls from people wanting money, and he was tied up. She continued hearing from Martin Hosey, who requested $300. He also texted her requesting her name/sex/phone number, etc. He insisted that she would have to give the money to the UPS person, and then he would hand the cash to her. She did not lose money, but she called the police and our office to report it.