SCAM ALERT: Beware of these phone calls!

February 03, 2017
Date of Release: Monday, January 30, 2017

SCAMMERS POSING AS I.R.S. AGENTS [Wentworth, N.C.]— As tax season begins, many people, possibly even you, will receive phone calls from SCAMMERS claiming to be with the United Stated Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These SCAMMERS will state that you owe the IRS money in the form of back taxes, and if you do not pay by a certain time, usually the end of the day, a warrant will be issued and you will be arrested. In another version of this scam, the SCAMMERS will call claiming to be the IRS stating they need to update your personal information in order to process your tax refund. These SCAMMERS are also using “Spoof” Caller IDs when making these calls. Caller ID "spoofing" occurs when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your Caller ID display to disguise their identity. Spoofing is often used as part of an attempt to trick someone into giving away valuable personal information or money. Many of the numbers used by these IRS SCAMMERS come back as Washington, D.C., New York, and even local “336” area code numbers. THESE CALLS ARE SCAMS, primarily coming from other countries overseas! DO NOT FALL FOR IT! The real IRS will NEVER contact you by telephone. If you receive one of these calls, HANG UP THE PHONE and DO NOT GIVE THE SCAMMERS ANY MONEY OR PERSONAL INFORMATION! These IRS scam calls will be in heavy rotation throughout tax season in particularly. SCAMMERS POSING AS MICROSOFT EMPLOYEES Also, beware callers claiming to be from the company MICROSOFT. They are telling people that they are calling about a problem with their computer and will try to obtain specific information to “fix” the problem, when really they are gathering the information they need to take control of your computer, view your internet financial transactions, etc. MICROSOFT does NOT call individuals oneby-one when there is a problem or bug in their software; they include a fix as part of their periodic Software Updates packages. SCAMMERS POSING AS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS Another popular scam going around currently… scammers calling claiming to be a law enforcement officer (usually local), threatening to arrest the recipient of the call if they don’t get whatever sum of money they claim is owed as part of an outstanding warrant within a certain deadline they will give. Most of the time, they will ask for a gift card or pre-paid debit card as payment. This is NOT the way law enforcement officers conduct business! A legitimate law enforcement officer will NEVER ask you to pay to avoid being arrested! THE PUBLISHER’S CLEARINGHOUSE SWEEPSTAKES SCAM In this scam, the callers claims he/she is with the Publisher’s Clearinghouse (PCH) Sweepstakes and that you have won a large sum of money and usually a high-end vehicle of some sort. They go on to say that in order to claim your prize, you must first pay taxes or a processing fee. It is illegal to attempt to collect taxes or fees on a prize before it is received, and PCH doesn’t call if you win their sweepstakes. According to a PCH representative, they really do show up at your door with a giant check, some balloons and a TV camera, just like in the commercials.
Kevin Suthard, Public Information Officer