BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — We’re finding, in our Call 4 Action stories, we are often answering the same questions over and over, or viewers might be falling victim to the same kinds of scams.
So we decided to give you a challenge you can also go back to. We are going to test your “Consumer IQ” with a quiz.
First question on our Consumer IQ test might be the scariest because it’s about the taxman: The IRS calls saying they have audited your 2013 tax return, and you owe $870–or any amount for that matter.
Should you: a.) call your accountant to correct the audit, b.) set up a payment plan, c.) pay with your credit card, or d.) hang up the phone?
One consumer we put that question to flirted with the right answer, which is “d”, then changed his answer to “a”.
“I would love to hang my phone up, but I believe in being responsible, so I would call my accountant.”
Another consumer we asked got it right, “Hang up the phone. I would call my attorney first.”
Why would you hang up the phone? “Because you never know if it is a fraudulent call, or anything else like that.”
The Administrator for the IRS himself, John Koskinen has told us, if you ever get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, it is a scam.
“The scammers, the way they are threatening people, is not the way we do business. We will never ask people to make a payment, and demand it on the phone.”
A consumer, taking the quiz, appreciates the new knowledge we have shared with him, “Thanks to you, if I get that call, I will hang up the phone immediately.” Or he could Call 4 Action.
The next question is very instructive, and put money back into a consumer’s pocket.
All of the big box grocery, department, and home improvement stores have a waiver from Erie County’s “Item Pricing” law, meaning they guarantee their scanners are 100% correct., but if the store makes a mistake, it could be costly to the store.
Here’s the question: while shopping at a grocery chain store, a box of cereal is priced at $2.00, but after checking out, you noticed you were charged $2.30. What’s your next move?
Do you a.) go to Customer Service and demand a 30-cent difference, b.) go to Customer Service and demand a $3.00 refund, c.) go home and file a complaint with the Attorney General, or d.) it is an honest mistake, you don’t get anything?
Correct answer is “c” go to Customer Service and ask for a $3.00 ‘super refund’. When they make a mistake with the scanner, you are entitled to 10 times the difference, which would be 10 times 30 cents, or $3.00))
That’s the price a retailer has to pay for its waiver to the Item Pricing Law, and it is enforced by Erie County’s Director of Weights and Measures, Ed Gonsiorek.
“If you are overcharged at the store, at least go to the people. Don’t ask the cashiers, the cashiers are not the ones who handle this. There is going to be someone in price control, or up in the front office. Then if they reject you, call us up, give us the information.”
Another valuable lesson: a call coming from the “Government Grants Office” congratulates you because you have been approved for a federal grant of up $1,500. But the office that has already granted you this money needs personal information to determine how much you qualify for.
A short time later you get a check for $1,000. Should you a.) deposit the check, b.) take it to the post office and report it as mail fraud, c.) report it to the police, or d.) throw it in the trash.
The correct answer is “b”–it is mail fraud, a federal offense. Peggy Penders, spokesperson for the Upstate Better Business Bureau said the BBB gets a low of complaints about “grant scams”, and advance fee loan scams.
“Grants, like so many other things, are ‘old school’. You have to put in the work to actually get the outcome.”
Penders said that goes for loans, too–the government does not do your homework for you.
“It is very important that people understand, you won’t be awarded a grant until you have actually applied for the grant.”
That is just a sampling of our Consumer IQ Quiz. The quiz actually consists of 20 questions, and we have supplied the answers in past Call 4 Action reports, and we have even added three easy bonus questions.
Take the quiz below or click here to take the quiz for yourself if on the News 4 app.