Friday, February 19, 2016

St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Scam Alert

The #SMCSO has received complaints of scam-artists calling local citizens and demanding immediate payment through credit card or bank account numbers for back taxes and late fees. The scammers, who represent themselves as IRS officials, frequently prey on elderly citizens.Please share this alert with your family and friends.

If you feel the IRS call is a scam do not give out any information and hang up immediately. If you send money to the scammers, please report the incident to the Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008. Otherwise, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration – use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage or call 800-366-4484. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission – use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on and add “IRS Telephone Scam in the notes.

Here is a message from the IRS:

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS, and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.

If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 

1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe;
3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card;
4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or,
5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.