For Immediate Release
Monday, June 5, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
*Joint Press Release* Dracut Police and Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Warn Residents About Ongoing IRS Scam
DRACUT — Police Chief Peter Bartlett and Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian are issuing a warning to residents about an ongoing IRS scam after a Dracut resident was victimized by a caller threatening to arrest the woman.
On Wednesday, May 31, a Dracut resident reported that a scammer, claiming to be an IRS agent, called to inform her she owed money from taxes and indicated she would be arrested if the debt was not paid immediately. The woman was instructed to purchase $5,000 worth of pre-paid gift cards and provide the numbers to the caller.
After paying the “debt,” the victim attempted to recoup the money, at which time the perpetrators spoofed a telephone number used by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and claimed the victim was subject to arrest. Both Sheriff Koutoujian and Chief Bartlett said this incident follows many of the telltale signs of a scam.
“The threat of arrest is understandably frightening, so spoofing the number of our office, or any law enforcement agency, adds a further level of believability to these scams,” Sheriff Koutoujian said. “Nationwide, this has been a significant and growing issue. That’s why it’s important we get the word out that no legitimate law enforcement agency will ever threaten arrest over the phone, or demand a debt be paid with a gift card.”
“These scammers can be incredibly convincing, and the best defense is to simply hang up the phone when you receive a threatening call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or a law enforcement agency. Police officers will never call you demanding money,” Chief Bartlett said. “Unfortunately, once money is sent to these individuals, it cannot be recovered, and this victim lost thousands of dollars.”