Beware con artists’ phone calls
by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
December 15, 2015
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an updated consumer alert on Dec. 9 warning residents of telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.
"We’ve received a great many reports lately and the Joint Communications Center in Green river is being flooded with calls," said Detective Dick Blust, the Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. "These callers are aggressive, even threatening, and they demand money. They can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they often alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request."
Those called are often seniors, Blust said, who can be particularly vulnerable to swindles.
The Sheriff’s Office is passing along tips from the IRS on spotting fake calls. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:
• Call to demand immediate payment; nor will it call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill or other formal notice.
• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
• Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
• If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
Blust also said the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss personal tax issues.
For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.