John Horvath, Police Chief
168 Main St.
Rockport, MA 01834
For Immediate Release
Friday, Nov. 20, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Rockport Police Warn Residents of IRS Scam
ROCKPORT — Chief John Horvath and the Rockport Police Department are warning residents of a recurring phone scam in Massachusetts and Connecticut in which aggressive callers claim that potential victims owe money to the International Revenue Service (IRS) and demand they pay immediately through a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
“We want to proactively warn the community and make it very clear that this is a scam. Residents should never give money to anyone over the phone who claims to be an IRS agent,” Chief Horvath said. “If you receive a call like this or know anyone who has received a similar call, hang up and immediately call the police department.”
According to police, these “agents” tell potential victims that while doing a tax audit, they found that the person has underpaid and owes money to the IRS. Some callers threatened to file lawsuits or told potential victims that a lawsuit had already been filed against them. In nearly all cases, once the victim gives away a pre-paid debit card number or makes a wire transfer, the money is gone forever.
The Rockport Police Department strongly urges residents to NEVER purchase pre-paid debit cards to give to a caller, and to NEVER send a wire transfer to someone you do not know.
Other characteristics of this scam 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.