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Crime Bulletins


Sheriff Ashley Warns About Popular Tax Scam

January 21, 2016
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It is the time of year again when most people will be receiving their W-2s in preparation of federal income tax return season. And, as with any other opportunity, some unscrupulous people will be trying to take advantage of some of our most vulnerable citizens, namely our seniors and developmentally challenged.


We have taken several calls from citizens notifying us of someone calling them claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. This is not unique to the Wayne County area. 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 preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a 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.


The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.


For more information or to report a scam, go to irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.