If you're looking for a way to protect yourself from fraudulent IRS scam calls that threaten you and demand your financial information and you don't want to spend big bucks, look no further than the Hiya app!
Read more: The fake IRS phone scam is back!
The dangers of tax fraud
Tax fraud has been a huge problem this year and in recent years. In January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported about 896,000 fraudulent phone calls since October 2013. This has resulted in a total of $26.5 million stolen from 5,000 victims.
A typical call from a scamster will pose as the IRS, saying you owe money and threaten to sue you, arrest you or even deport you, among other things.
These calls can be incredibly scary for those who aren't aware they are fake. As a result, many people have unfortunately fallen prey to them.
Thankfully, the Hiya app offers an innovative solution to combat this common security threat.
How the app works
Once you download the app, if you receive a call from a suspected scammer, the app will block the call and alert you. Then it will either make the call go straight to voicemail or drop the call, depending on your device.
In order to detect suspected scammers, Hiya developers use an algorithm that determines if there is a phone number making thousands of brief phone calls. Additionally, app users can submit a community report that warns others if a certain phone number is fraudulent.
"We hire people that do nothing else but look at these things all day long, verifying data," including telephone numbers that the IRS provides, a spokesperson for Hiya told ABC News. "There’s quite a lot of manual work to find these offenders."
About 5% of all incoming calls Hiya monitors are classified as unwanted or fraudulent. That's about 15 million calls per month!
The app also aims to combat the issue of scammers changing their phone numbers to avoid detection, as much as 60 times a year. The company is working with cell phone carriers such as T-Mobile and phone makers like Samsung to try to make scam calls a thing of the past.
The best part? It's completely free!
Read more: Beware of these common IRS scams