911 or IRS Phone Threat

4/28/15 5:00pm

Please be aware of another phone scam, this one involving a caller who claims to require payment for various things including federal tax. The "creep factor" may be raised by the caller not only having some information about you (for instance, knowing your affiliation to Brown) and asking some very personal questions (like about an arrest warrant, passport, how close you are to a bank), but then insisting on how this is a timely legal issue, and then threatening to send a police officer to where you are. 

We advise that you hang up if receiving a call like this but be forewarned that you may receive follow-up calls that appear on caller ID as "911."  No one would ever receive a legitimate call from "911."  The caller is only spoofing that number.

This particular scam, known as the "911 Phone Threat" has been around for a few years, though a variation surfaced in March that made the news, such as this from KnowBe4.  The Denver Post reported another version of this last September.

Another variation was reported by Oregon State University, who sent the campus community this letter about a phone scam targeting students a little earlier this year.

You can report fraudulent IRS-related calls to the IRS at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts.


Written by pfalcon@brown.edu on