IRS Tax Scam
The Vienna Police Department would like to warn residents of an IRS scam currently circulating. Several residents have reported receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be representatives from the IRS. These individuals are claiming that “You owe back taxes” and are using scare tactics to entice residents to give personal information over the phone or to pay them money immediately. The caller claiming to be an IRS agent will usually threaten to sue you for the money or threaten to have you immediately arrested by local law enforcement. The main purpose for these types of phone scams is to steal money from the victims or to obtain personal information so that the caller can steal the identity of others. It is also important to realize that the IRS will not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
- Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
If you receive these types of calls, hang up immediately. Please contact your local law enforcement agency, your States Attorney General’s Office or the Federal Trade Commission to report these types of phone calls.
- Fake Money Order Scams
Recently the Sheriff’s Office has received a number of reports from local residents who have received either over payment checks or counterfeit money orders. With the holidays approaching residents should be vigilant when purchasing items online or receiving payments for items sold online. The checks or money orders received by residents appear genuine but are counterfeit. Once deposited these “ over payment checks” or counterfeit money orders bounce and the victim who deposited the check is responsible for repaying the bank for any amount withdrawn.
The Federal Trade Commission has provided these tips for residents to avoid these types of scams:
- Throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift. If it’s free or a gift, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Free is free.
- Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery solicitations are phony.
- Know who you’re dealing with, and never wire money to strangers.
- If you’re selling something, don’t accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to send the correct amount, return the check. Don’t send the merchandise.
- If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that’s not possible, call the bank where the check was purchased, and ask if it is valid. Get the bank’s phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the check or from the person who gave you the check.
- If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don’t pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there’s a problem with a wire transaction.
- Resist any pressure to “act now.” If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.
- CREDIT CARD SCAMS
Credit card fraud; take the time to read this important information. The scam works like this:
Caller: “This is (name), and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My Badge number is 12460. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern, and I’m calling to verify. This would be on your VISA card which was issued by (name of bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona ?”
When you say “No”, the caller continues with, “Then we will be issuing a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern that flags most cards. Before your next statement, the credit will be sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?”
You say “yes”. The caller continues – “I will be starting a Fraud investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800 number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security. You will need to refer to this Control Number.” The caller then gives you a 6 digit number. “Do you need me to read it again?”
Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works. The caller then says, “I need to verify you are in possession of your card”. He’ll ask you to turn your card over and look for some numbers’. There are 7 numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the security Numbers that verify you are the possessor of the card. These are the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you have the card. The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him. After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, “That is correct, I just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that you still have your card. Do you have any other questions?” After you say “No”, the caller then thanks you and states, “Don’t hesitate to call back if you do”, and hangs up.
You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the Card number. But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back within 20 minutes to ask a question. Are we glad we did! The REAL VISA Security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card. Long story – short – we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA account. VISA is reissuing us a new number. What the scammers want is the 3-digit PIN number on the back of the card Don’t give it to them. Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or Master card directly for verification of their conversation. The real VISA told us that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the information since they issued the card! If you give the scammers your 3 Digit PIN Number, you think you’re receiving a credit. However, by the time you get your statement you’ll see charges for purchases you didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to actually file a fraud report.
What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from a Jason Richardson of Master Card’ with a word-for-word repeat of the VISA scam. This time I didn’t let him finish. I hung up! We filed a police report, as instructed by VISA. The police said they are taking several of these reports daily! They also urged us to tell everybody we know that this scam is happening. Please pass this on to all your family and friends. By informing each other, we protect each other.
- JURY DUTY SCAMS
Recently published information regarding a “Jury” call scam. Persons claiming to be U.S. Marshalls are calling residents and informing them they have missed jury duty and may be subject to arrest. They proceed to ask for detailed personal I.D. information in return for checking on the situation and possibly getting them relieved from jury duty and not being arrested. This scam was recently attempted in Putnam County, West Virginia. The resident immediately reported this to the U.S. Marshall’s Office of the SDWV. Please inform your local officials asap.
- JURY DUTY SCAMS
The FBI is providing a warning to the public against an ongoing scheme involving jury service. The public needs to be aware that individuals identifying themselves as U.S. court employees have been telephonically contacting citizens and advising them that they have been selected for jury duty. These individuals ask to verify names and Social Security numbers, then ask for credit card numbers. If the request is refused, citizens are then threatened with fines. The judicial system does not contact people telephonically and ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth or credit card numbers. If you receive one of these phone calls, do not provide any personal or confidential information to these individuals. This is an attempt to steal or to use your identity by obtaining your name, Social Security number and potentially to apply for credit or credit cards or other loans in your name. It is an attempt to defraud you. If you have already been contacted and have already given out your personal information, please monitor your account statements and credit reports, and contact your local FBI office. Local FBI field office telephone numbers can be found in the front of your local telephone directory or on www.fbi.gov.
Several reports have been filed involving fraudulent schemes in which individuals have been contacted through mail or by telephone. The scheme consists of a check being sent to the individual promising bigger and better rewards. The companies are known to have fake addresses and phone contacts that appear to be on the level. When the check has been cashed and the money sent out to a specified address, the bank notifies the customer the check was counterfiet and the money is to be withdrawn from their account, leaving the customer with a substantial loss.
If you have any information on these individuals do not hesitate to contact the Vienna Police Depatment at 304-295-8563.
We are receiving complaints about door to door solicitations that are not registering with the City. If you are approached, always ask to see their solicitation license. If they do not provide one, more than likely they are not registered to do business within the city of Vienna.
We are having several thefts from vehicles reported. Most of these are from UNLOCKED vehicles which can be prevented. Please keep your valuables safe by storing these items out of sight. Remember, ALWAYS LOCK YOUR DOORS!