Scam calls expected to spike in Pa. as tax season approaches
If you dread answering your phone because of the onslaught of robotic spammers and scammers, you’re not alone. And it could get worse very soon.
An analysis of U.S. Federal Trade Commission statistics by AllAreaCodes.com found unwanted calls tend to spike in March and April, as scammers impersonating the IRS attempt to bilk money out of taxpayers.
In 2018, Pennsylvanians filed almost 240,000 complaints with the FTC for telemarketers and scammers calling people on the Do Not Call Registry.
That’s the 14th-highest number of complaints per capita among U.S. states, with 1,867 complaints per 100,000 Pennsylvanians, according to the FTC.
Nevada comes first with a whopping 2,579 complaints per 100,000 state residents. Alaska is last with only 549 per 100,000 residents.
Robocall complaints have skyrocketed over the last few years. In 2012 the FTC received 3.2 million complaints nationwide, roughly half of them involving robocalls.
That number peaked in 2017 at 7.2 million complaints, about two-thirds of which were for robocalls.
It was down to 5.8 million complaints this year, but that might not mean an actual decrease in scammers, according to AllAreaCodes.
The site’s analysis found the dropping complaint number may be because fewer people are turning to the FTC, instead using private call-screening services or other means to avoid robocalls.
The IRS will never call you to ask for tax payments, and never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Anyone who suspects they have been called by a scammer should hang up immediately.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .