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2 phone scams to watch out for

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof | Posted - Feb 14th, 2014 @ 8:11pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Officials are sending warnings about two separate scams that can lose consumers money.

A missed phone call from an international number and a con artist posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent are two new scams identified by the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission.

The ICCC reported that fraudsters are calling a large number of U.S. cell phone numbers, ringing only once before hanging up. The number calling is a high-cost international number, typically in the Caribbean. These missed calls are used to enable International Revenue Share Fraud by keeping the person on the line when they call back.

“The longer the caller stays on the line, the more revenue fraudsters generate,” ICCC wrote in a release.

The recipients of the initial phone call — individuals and businesses — are then billed for an international call.

Area codes involved in the fraud include those Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Recipients of such phone calls are told not to return the call and they will not be charged for receiving the initial phone call. ICCC recommends businesses that do not work in those areas should block those area codes.

In the second scam, consumers have received phone calls that are supposedly from the IRS, ordering them to pay taxes owed to the government.

The scammers — calling from a supposed Washington, D.C. number — will demand consumers to send a prepaid debit card, threatening jail time if they don't.

The IRS said the call is a scam and ask people to report any calls to the agency at 1-800-366-4484 or to the FTC online.

Contributing: Debbie Dujanovic

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