Beware IRS and Power Bill Scams
by Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office
June 15, 2017
ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING - The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an upgraded warning about two ongoing scams circulating in the county.
The first involves telephone calls from people claiming to be agents of the Internal Revenue Service, demanding payment of (allegedly) delinquent income taxes.
The pattern is for the caller to insist on prompt payment through a credit or debit card or a wire transfer. If the person called refuses or begins asking questions, the caller often threatens a visit from law enforcement, arrest, arrest of a spouse, or a driver’s license revocation.
Sheriff Mike Lowell said the callers use fake names and sometimes even provide a bogus IRS badge number. They may even know the last four digits of their intended victim’s Social Security number, all in an effort to make the swindle sound more convincing.
Genuine communications from the IRS begin with a letter, not a phone call. Other tipoffs that such calls are a scam include the following:
- Knowledge of the intended victim’s Social Security number or its last four digits.
- Recitation of the bogus IRS agent’s badge number.
- During the call, the sound of other, similar conversations can be heard in the background.
- The caller becomes rude and hostile and hangs up.
- Follow-up calls from a different person claiming to be an IRS agent.
Authorities make the following recommendations to those who receive such calls: If you actually owe on your federal income taxes or think you might owe, contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with a genuine official about your tax issues.
If you know you don’t owe any income taxes, call 1-800-366-4484 to report the caller to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
The second scam strategy concerns bogus calls in both Rock Springs and Green River, purportedly from the power company, warning you that your electric bill is overdue and must be paid immediately with a credit or debit card, a MoneyGram, or a pre-paid card to avoid service interruption; the scammers are after not only the amount of the phony "payment," but your credit and/or debit card information.
The best strategy here to avoid being defrauded is simple and straightforward: hang up and contact the power company directly - obtaining the telephone number from its website or from the phone book - to check on the status of your account.