Michael L. Lyle, Chief
56 W. Foster St.
Melrose, MA 02176
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 31, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Melrose Police Warn Community About Popular IRS Phone Scams
MELROSE — As residents file their taxes this season, Chief Michael L. Lyle and the Melrose Police Department would like to remind the community about several ongoing IRS phone scams.
Over the last few days, the Melrose Police Department has received multiple reports from residents about IRS phone scams.
In one instance, a resident reported that she received a pre-recorded call from an IRS “agent,” who stated she was receiving the message because the IRS had issued a warrant for her arrest and her property was being monitored. The “agent” then left a callback number and urged the resident to call the number before further legal action was taken.
Another popular IRS scam includes when an IRS “agent” reports there is a lawsuit against the victim, who is told to call a number and settle the claim.
IRS scammers will also call to inform residents they owe money and must pay it immediately through a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The “agent” tells the victim that if they do not cooperate, they will be arrested, deported, or their business license or driver’s license will be suspended. The caller is often intimidating and may make hostile and insulting statements.
“The IRS will always contact you by mail first,” Chief Lyle said. “If you receive one of these bogus calls, immediately hang up. Do not call the number they give you and do not give out any personal information no matter how convincing the person seems. This is a scam”
If a victim gives away a pre-paid debit card number or makes a wire transfer, the money is gone and lost forever. There is usually no way to recover those funds.
Other characteristics of scams include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.