James M. Spinney, Chief of Police
2 Olde North Road
Chelmsford, MA 01824
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Chelmsford Police Warn Residents About Recurring IRS Scam
CHELMSFORD — With tax season quickly approaching, Chief James Spinney and the Chelmsford Police Department would like to warn the community about a recurring International Revenue Service (IRS) scam to prevent residents from becoming victims of this crime.
As part of the scam, callers, masked as IRS “agents” tell potential victims that while completing a tax audit, they found that the person has underpaid and owes money to the IRS. Some callers threaten to file lawsuits or tell residents that a lawsuit had already been filed against them. They state the only way to rectify the situation is to immediately send a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer to a specified address.
The Chelmsford 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. Once the money is sent, it’s gone forever
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.
“The IRS will never call you and ask you to send them money through a wire transfer or a debit card and police will never threaten to arrest you for unpaid taxes,” Chief Spinney said. “As we head into tax season, do not leave yourself vulnerable. Stay alert and immediately report the incident if you receive a call.”
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.