Last week the Burbank Police Department alerted readers of their Facebook page to a phone scam:
Rebecca; a follower of this page, related she recently received a call from a person claiming to be an inmate and wanted her to accept the call. The person then wanted her to establish an account for future calls to be made as well. However; this scam as well as others, prey on those not as savvy as Rebecca. Rebecca hung up on the caller. Citizens are encouraged to call the police so it can be properly documented. While there are many scams out there, citizens should always use caution when answering calls and try to identify the person on the other line. Many times, the callers have information on their targets and know names of family members often posing as that family member. They will ask to "wire" money to help them get out of jail or to buy a plane ticket to return back home. If you are uncertain if this person is who he / she claim to be, ask questions that only the actual person would know the answer to. If they do not answer properly, then you have your answer and proof that it is some sort of a scam. The criminal will usually hang up when they feel they are not going to be able to get cooperation in their scam. Report it to your police department so it is documented. While not all of these cases are solved, it gives the authorities an idea who and where these kind of calls are coming from (usually from out of the country). Many scams exist, but if you are vigilant, you will not become a victim. Also, if you take a call and arrangements are made to "wire" money or purchase money cards from convenience stores, you can still contact the police before the money leaves your pockets and have it transferred into the criminal's pocket.
Today a Burbank resident sent us the following message:
1 (202) 506-8308 DC, USA
I got a call from this number above, someone claiming to be with the IRS and that I owed $19,000 to them and that there was a warrant and law suit against me, so I just wanted to get the word out to our communities that this is a scam and these people are preying on the elderly and getting away with this so please share this information.
The IRS on Wednesday reiterated a warning to taxpayers that stated, "There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation."
According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), approximately 1,100 victims have lost an estimated $5 million from these scams.
It is important to know that the IRS:
Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.
Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations.
Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
If you believe that you've been targeted by such a scam, the IRS asks that you call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484. In addition, they recommend you also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.