The Stark County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a recent telephone scam affecting many local residents.
Our area was and is being hit by scam artists. They call saying they are with the I.R.S. and that YOU owe them money. Of course that’s followed up by asking for your credit card information and threats of your arrest by Federal Marshalls if you don’t comply.
First, the I.R.S. will NEVER call you or contact you by email. If there is an issue, the I.R.S. will send you a letter via mail. Even then, if you have a question about the legitimacy of it, call the actual I.R.S. at 1-800-829-1040.
Next, hang up. Do not give the scammers any information. If you have become a victim already and given them information, call your credit card company and see if you can cancel that card, and/or reverse the charges. Usually they are pretty helpful.
Finally, keep an eye on others. Not everyone may receive word that this is a scam, so make sure nobody else in your house gives out information. Scammers like to target the elderly and new immigrants. WQAD Channel 8 in the Quad Cities did a report on this recently and actually talked to one of the scammers on the phone. He was not shy.
He told Chris Minor that he can get $70,000 to $80,000 a week from people and he has no shame. When asked if this is funding terrorism, he replied, “you could say that.”
The I.R.S. says other characteristics of this scam include:
Scammers use fake names and I.R.S. badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the I.R.S. calling.
Scammers sometimes send bogus I.R.S. emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
The government is well aware of the problem and is trying to track now these criminals, but they say the FBI will never find them. Regardless, if you’d like to report the incident, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You can also file a FTC complaint online at fcc.gov.
Congress will hold hearing starting today, Thursday, on this exact topic and fraudulent tax refund being filed as well.