Receiving Calls Threatening Your Arrest if You Don’t Give Them Money? It’s a SCAM!
The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office continues to receive reports of scammers trying to lie, intimidate, trick, and threaten people into giving up their hard-earned money or personal information, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
The “IRS Scam,” “Grandparents Scam,” “You have warrants…” scam, and the “You’ve won a huge amount of money, but you have to send us a small fee to get it” scam are still active in our area.
All of these SCAMS have the same theme with a slightly different storyline. If someone calls you stating you’ve done something wrong (missed jury duty, failed to pay taxes, have a warrant for your arrest, or a myriad of other lies), and now, if you don’t pay them immediately, you will be arrested, lose your home, a family or friend will spend years in jail, or some other catastrophe will happen, a SCAMMER is trying to swindle you out of your hard-earned money. Don’t fall for their lies and deception; hang up!
Although you may “think” your family, friends, and neighbors know this and would “never” fall for these lies, don’t be so sure. Take the time to talk to everyone you know or to any group you belong to and make sure they know.
Predatory scammers don’t continue making these calls because they have nothing better to do. They do it because they continue to terrify people into handing over their money or private information. The more people who know about these scams, the fewer people will be victimized.
Just yesterday, a citizen reported she received a call from 877-692-2835. The male caller (predator) claimed he was with the IRS, and she was being charged with tax evasion, among other charges. He demanded she go to Target, WalMart, or eBay, and get $2,000 in gift cards, and call him back. Scared and not wanting to be charged with “additional crimes,” she, unfortunately, obtained the cards as instructed. She provided the access codes from the cards to the criminal caller (which gives him immediate access to the funds) and was placed on hold. When he returned to the phone call, he again lied, stating a lien had already be placed on her home, and she needed to pay another $1,000. Afraid she would lose her home, she did as instructed and provided the account access numbers. The scammer also told her, she would later receive a full refund along with tax counseling to ensure this would never happen again.
Because she provided the access numbers for the cards, more than likely, she has no fraud protections and will never be able to recover the money stolen from her.
From the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts webpage (https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts), “Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.”
Assume ANY similar phone call or email you receive is a scam until you prove otherwise by doing a little research. Don’t call the numbers the caller provides; you’ll just be calling the scammer or one of his/her fellow predators. Use the internet and search the phone numbers provided. Look at the information the search provides; others may have already reported it as a scam. Search for the actual IRS, or other government agency or business’ website, call them directly and check for scam alerts. Or, you can always call your local police department or sheriff’s office. These scammers are counting on victims becoming fearful, and they use that fear to confuse and intimidate people into making quick decisions based on emotion. Don’t let it be you!
Please, take the time to help spread this information, share it on social media, or with any person or group you have the opportunity to speak with. You just may save someone thousands of dollars in pain and hardship.
For more information about protecting your privacy, identity and online security, including how to report phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with other scams and consumer information, go to the FTC website https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/ or the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at https://www.ic3.gov/.
Corporal Mark Gregory
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office
Spokane Valley Police Department
Public Information Officer