As we enter the new year of 2019, we should all heed the warning that half of mobile phone calls are expected to be scam robocalls.

Reports are also rolling in about Internal Revenue Service (IRS) impersonation phone scams.

Forbes magazine recently published a piece by Kelly Phillips Erb that said, “The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 1.2 million calls made to taxpayers demanding that they send cash to resolve outstanding tax liabilities — and those are just the numbers from taxpayers who have made reports.

The writer reported that scammers have been convincing enough to steal over $36.5 million from nearly 6,400 victims in the past couple of years.

She offers six reasons not to engage with scammers, “No Matter What Your Facebook Friends Tell You.”

She wrote that many suggestions offered by friends are not effective. The best advice? Hang up.

Don’t engage. Here are the six reasons why you should never engage with scammers:

1. When you engage with a scammer — even if you are blowing a whistle in the phone — you’ve just confirmed two pieces of information for the scammers: they’ve called a working phone number and you’ll answer the phone.

2. When you tell scammers to stop calling you, you may inadvertently give out more information about your phone number.

3. When you tell scammers that you know you don’t owe anything, you might have confirmed your name, that you’re a taxpayer, and worse, possibly your Social Security Number (SSN).

4. When you make threats back, you might be offering valuable “out of wallet” information.

5. You might be breaking the law. In most states, and according to federal law, you can record phone calls with the consent of just one party to the call. But in 12 states — including California — you need the consent of both parties to record a call.

6. You’re never going to make them feel bad. These are not nice people. Your threats, bad language, telling them off? They’ve likely heard and said worse. You’re not fazing them one bit. Don’t waste your time.

Here are some phone numbers you can call to report the problem:

IRS, 1-800- 829-1040

TIGTA, 1-800-366-4484.

Don’t fall for the tricks. Keep your personal information safe by remaining alert.

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