Scam calls expected to spike in Pa. as tax season approaches |

Scam calls expected to spike in Pa. as tax season approaches

Jacob Tierney

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 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, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Pennsylvania
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.