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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous reports from the public reporting a phone scam. The suspects are telling the potential victims they are an agent with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the US Treasury and they owe the IRS money. The suspects then tell the victim if they fail to immediately pay they will obtain a warrant for the victims arrest. The suspects attempt to get the victim to obtain iTunes gift cards, a money order, cashier’s check or green dot card to pay the overdue bill. Below are some helpful websites: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Warns-of-Pervasive-Telephone-Scam https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams Notes from IRS Press Release: 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. Notes from the Federal Trade Commission Signs of a Scam Often, scammers who operate by phone don’t want to give you time to think about their pitch; they just want you to say "yes." But some are so cunning that, even if you ask for more information, they seem happy to comply. They may direct you to a website or otherwise send information featuring “satisfied customers.” These customers, known as shills, are likely as fake as their praise for the company. Here are a few red flags to help you spot telemarketing scams. If you hear a line that sounds like this, say "no, thank you," hang up, and file a complaint with the FTC: •You've been specially selected (for this offer). •You'll get a free bonus if you buy our product. •You've won one of five valuable prizes. •You've won big money in a foreign lottery. •This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else. •You have to make up your mind right away. •You trust me, right? •You don't need to check our company with anyone. •We'll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card. If you or anyone you know is a victim of a scam, please call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. Mike Downey Sheriff