Police are warning residents about a phone scam by people posing as Internal Revenue Service agents and local police officers to bilk their victims out of cash.
Raleigh police say the IRS and law enforcement agencies across the country have received reports of scammers threatening arrest while trying to convince their potential victims to make “payments” using prepaid debit cards.
The scammers have often done their homework and seem to know personal information about those whom they are calling in an attempt to be more convincing, said Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue. The criminals also use caller ID to make it appear they are calling from an official number, “and there have been reports that caller IDs made it appear the calls were coming from the Raleigh Police Department,” Sughrue reported.
Sughrue added that the police department never calls residents demanding money to avoid arrest and is not involved in the IRS’s interactions with taxpayers about collections.
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The police department’s alert follows reports this week about con artists pretending to be IRS agents who took more than $73,000 from residents in Fort Worth, Texas. Fort Worth police reported that the callers convinced their victims that they owed the IRS and threatened them with arrest, deportation or the loss of a business or driver’s license in they did not pay immediately.
In some instances, the callers would tell the victims they were being followed in person or via GPS, authorities reported.
The Washington Post reported that computer-savvy criminals posing as Internal Revenue Service officers at call centers in India may have stolen millions from Americans.
The Post’s report came in the aftermath of a police raid Tuesday at a call center in the country’s commercial capital of Mumbai where 770 employees were detained for questioning and 70 were charged with fraud, wrongful impersonation and violating the country’s internet safety law.
The call centers were making more than $150,000 a day through scams that took place for a little more than a year, the Post reported.
Raleigh police say that anyone who receives a call from someone posing as an IRS agent and demanding payment should simply hang up. Under no circumstances should they transfer any money or provide any personal information, Sughrue said.