Crime

IRS phone scam snaking through SLO County, Sheriff’s Office says

This March 22, 2013 photo, shows exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. Fake IRS agents have targeted people with harassing phone calls demanding payments and threatening jail as part of a huge nationwide tax scam. More than 3,000 people fell for the ruse between 2013 and 2015.
This March 22, 2013 photo, shows exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. Fake IRS agents have targeted people with harassing phone calls demanding payments and threatening jail as part of a huge nationwide tax scam. More than 3,000 people fell for the ruse between 2013 and 2015. Associated Press

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office says phone scammers posing as IRS agents have been trying to pry money from local residents’ pockets.

And the would-be con artists have been busy lately.

In less than two weeks, Sheriff’s officials have fielded 11 reports from people who said they received phone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS representatives, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

The purported IRS employees said they had called to collect unpaid fees, adding that the person must pay immediately via a preloaded debit card or wire transfer or they could go to jail, the news release stated.

The suspected scammers have told callers that a deputy would be sent to their homes if they did not pay, according to the news release.

In light of these recent scam attempts, Sheriff’s officials are sharing tips for how to avoid getting duped:

▪  The real IRS will never call to demand an immediate payment.

▪  The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount.

▪  The IRS will not ask for a credit or debit card number over the phone.

▪  The IRS will not threaten to contact police to have you arrested for not paying.

The Sheriff’s Office also is asking residents to ensure that family members and friends know about these attempts so they can be prepared if they receive a suspicious call.

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