SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Police are warning the public of a current tax-related phone scam.
The scammers involved are calling victims claiming to be police, Treasury Department officials, IRS Agents or Sheriff’s Deputies. The scammer then advised the victim that they either missed jury duty, won a sweepstakes prize or have chances to earn enormous profits from supposedly no-risk, high-yield business and investment opportunities.
The victims are then being told to put $1,000 on a prepaid card while they are on the phone with the individual. If they hang up, the scammer then threatens to send someone out to arrest them. Once this money is on the card, the victims are asked to read the card number off to the person who is impersonating the officer so that he can verify the money went into the kiosk.
Police advise that you can be sure it’s a scam if they ask for money or personal information, especially if they use scare tactics.
You should be suspicious of all solicitors, especially if the caller says any of the following:
- You’ve won a prize or lottery and that you need to send money first or provide bank account information to get your winnings.
- You have to act right away. Remember, if it’s a good deal today it will still be a good deal tomorrow. Don’t let anyone rush you into signing anything.
- He or she is a law enforcement officer and threatens to arrest you if you don’t pay a fine for a bogus charge, for example, a speeding violation caught on camera or a failure to appear for jury duty. Payments are usually requested by prepaid debit card or money order. The scammer might use the name of a real officer or department to make the call convincing. No law enforcement employee will ever contact you to demand money or any other form of payment. Hang up immediately if you get this kind of call.
- He or she is calling from the Security and Fraud Department of your credit or debit card company and asks you for the 3-digit security number on the back of your credit card to verify your possession of the card to aid in a supposed fraud investigation. Never give out this information unless you are the person initiating a transaction.
- He or she is calling from Microsoft or some other legitimate company to warn you that your computer has a security problem and offer a free security check. You may then be tricked into allowing access to your computer, downloading malware, giving out credit card information, or buying some software or services you don’t need.
- You owe taxes and must pay with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers, claiming to be with the IRS, threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation, or loss of a business or driver’s license. The truth is that the IRS usually contacts people by mail first about unpaid taxes. It won’t contact you by phone and it won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer or credit card information over the phone.
- Hang up immediately if the caller is rude or threatening.
If you receive repeated harassing calls, or calls in which you are threatened with physical harm and think the threat is real, report them to the Suffolk Police Department on the non-emergency number, (757) 923-2350. Also you can call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.