Telephone fraud refers to any type of scheme in which a fraudster communicates with a potential victim via telephone. Because many reputable companies use telemarketing to conduct business, fraudsters often effectively use this method as a way to obtain a victim’s personal or banking information, or gain access to work or personal devices. Then, they use this information to make unauthorized purchases or open fraudulent loans/accounts. Victims often have difficulty distinguishing between reputable telemarketers and fraudsters.

Tips to avoid being victimized:

  • If the telephone message is not personalized, be cautious and consider if you recently were involved in the activity described (e.g. completed an employment application).
  • If someone requests personal information to provide payment for your services (namely, username and password for online banking, debit card number, etc.), do not provide it.
  • Do not agree to send or refund money that was "overpaid" to you via wire transfer, gift card or cash.

What to do if you have been victimized

  • Contact Bethpage (or other financial institution) or visit a local branch to discuss your concern.
  • If a payment is in question, request that the check or means of payment be placed on an extended hold.
  • File a police report.
  • Change the password: to your computer and to all password - protected websites you visit, including all financial institutions.
  • Submit a complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Current Examples


IRS Phone Scam

Below is an example in which a fraudster claims to work for the IRS and states that you owe money.

Hello Mr/Mrs xxxxx, this is Officer xxxx from the Tax and Crime Investigations unit of the IRS, and the reason behind this call is to inform you that you are being listed as the primary suspect in a case being filed by the IRS. You owe the IRS money. I would like to inform you that the line on which we are talking right now is being recorded and monitored by the IRS, the local authorities of your state and by one patrolling officer.

Red flags
  • The IRS will not call you. It will send a written notification to your home.
  • All payments to the IRS are made using prepaid vouchers.
  • The fraudsters are operating out of foreign countries.

Tips to avoid being victimized
  • If you know you owe taxes, or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes, or you have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (i.e., you’ve never received a bill, or the caller made bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
  • File a complaint with the FTC Complaint Assistant (Federal Trade Commission) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

What to do if you have been victimized
  • File a complaint with the Credit Bureaus (Experian, Transunion and Equifax).
  • Contact your financial institution or visit a local branch to discuss your concern.
  • File a police report.
Technical Support Scam

Technical Support scams occur when you receive a call from a fraudster claiming to be from a reputable company (such as Microsoft, Apple, etc.), and the caller states that he/she has found malware on your computer. The fraudster will then try to get you to install a type of remote desktop software under the pretext of removing the infestation, which would allow the fraudster access to your computer to install real malware. In addition to attempting to install malware on your machine, these fraudsters will often ask for a fee to repair the issue.

Red flags
  • You will never receive an unsolicited phone call from reputable companies to fix your computer for money. You will only receive a call if you request one.
  • If payment is requested, do not log on to your online banking account. Remember, the fraudster has visibility to your desktop as he/she is "working" on your computer. Your account numbers, personal information and passwords may be visible to the fraudster.

What to do if you have been victimized:
  • Change passwords on a non-infected computer and avoid logging into anything on the infected computer until a qualified repair person or company, like the Geek Squad, has tested the computer and removed the malware. Alternately, immediately bring your computer to a reputable location that can test and remove any malware.
  • Change the passwords to your computer and to all password - protected websites you visit, including all financial institutions.
  • Contact your financial institution to report that there has been fraudulent activity on your account.
  • Submit a complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
  • File a complaint with the Credit Bureaus (Experian, Transunion and Equifax).

My Money 101

Learn about the ways in which you can protect your finances.

This free interactive learning tutorial will cover fraud, identity theft, and how to protect your financial information.

GET STARTED

Quick and easy
5-10 minute tutorials.

Mobile friendly
Learn on-the-go; on your schedule.

For everyone
You don't have to be a member.