John Horvath, Police Chief
168 Main St.
Rockport, MA 01834
For Immediate Release
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Rockport Police Alert Community to Increase in IRS Scams
ROCKPORT — Chief John Horvath reports that the Rockport Police Department received over 10 reports of IRS scams on Friday and would like to remind residents to never give out their personal and financial information to a person they do not know.
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.
“Do not engage with these scammers, no matter how convincing they may seem,” Chief Horvath said. “Police will never threaten to arrest you for unpaid taxes.”
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.
Since 2013, more than 5,000 victims have lost over $26.5 million as a result of the scam, according to the IRS.
To avoid becoming a victim of an IRS scam, residents are encouraged to remember the following:
- The IRS first contacts people by mail — not by phone — about unpaid taxes.
- The IRS will not ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card, a money order or wire a transfer.
- The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.
- The IRS never requests personal or financial information by email, text, or social media.
If you receive a call from an IRS scammer, hang up. Do not engage with these callers.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment and if you think you owe money, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
The IRS also advises residents to forward scam emails to [email protected], and to not open any attachments or click on any links in those emails.