What You Need to Know About Phone Scams
Tahnee Lightfoot, Media Contact
The Glendale Police Department would like to warn residents about a phone scam that has victimized many in our community and surrounding areas. Residents and business owners have received phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as law enforcement, federal agents or city employees informing them they need to purchase a “MoneyPak”, “Reloadit,” or other legitimate prepaid card with a specific amount and forward them the information to avoid being arrested.
The callers claim one of the following:
- The resident owes the IRS tax money and if not paid, an arrest warrant will be issued.
- The resident has not paid their utility bill and if payment is not made, their utilities will be shut off immediately.
- The resident did not report to Jury Duty and an arrest warrant is being issued unless the fine is paid.
- The resident has a family member who has been arrested and if bail is not paid by phone, the family member will be jailed for a longer period of time.
- The resident has won a large sum of money through a sweepstake or lottery, and “government fees” or “taxes” are required to claim the winnings.
The victims are pressured by the fear of being arrested or having their power shut off. As a result, the victims have purchased the pre-paid cards valued in the thousands of dollars. After purchasing the cards from a local store, the victims then provide the serial numbers on the back of the cards to the caller, completing the transaction and the theft.
Law Enforcement agencies, the IRS and utility companies do not collect money through prepaid cards. In many of the calls reported to the police, the callers are rude and speak in a threatening manner. Simply hang up the phone a do not call the number they provide.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or a Police Department, and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Impostor Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
The IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.
The Glendale Police Department is encouraging the public to be aware of these scams and to share this knowledge with your family and friends. People who do not have an online presence (i.e. the elderly) often fall for these scams because they have never heard of it before. If you have been a victim of such a scam and have suffered a loss, report it to your local law enforcement agency.