The Lincoln Park Police Department wants to provide a few tips on how to avoid being a victim of phone scams. Recently we have had several reports of citizens being contacted by suspected phone scammers. Following these tips can help avoid being a victim.
- If you get a call saying you’re a winner – don’t pay any money to collect supposed sweepstakes winnings. Legitimate operations won’t require you to pay to collect your winnings.
- Never wire money to anyone with whom you are not familiar with
- Never provide anyone with personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers.
- Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls
- Never make donations over the phone, no matter how nicely the caller may ask and how tempting the reward.
- IRS scams – This is not the IRS scamming you, but rather someone impersonating the IRS. Never give any personal information over the phone to anyone claiming to work for the IRS. This is not an IRS policy to request payment and personal information over the phone. * The IRS already had your information*
- If you become a victim please immediately contact the police department.
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 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.
Note that the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
- 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; or
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.