PALMDALE – Palmdale Sheriff’s detectives are warning the public about a national scam that has been targeting residents in the Antelope Valley.
It starts with a phone call from a scammer pretending to be an employee of the Tax and Audit Department of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Victims are told the IRS has a claim against them for foreign tax evasion and they must pay immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims who refuse to cooperate are threatened with arrest or deportation. In some cases, the caller becomes hostile and offensive.
“We ask the public to be extremely careful if you receive a phone call asking for any type of payment over the phone,” stated Palmdale Community Relations Deputy Jodi Wolfe. “According to the IRS website, IRS employees ‘will not ask for credit cards numbers over the phone nor request a pre-paid debit or wire transfer.’ If you have any hesitation, questions or concerns, hang up the phone and call the IRS directly.”
Below are tips from the IRS website on what you should do if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. To 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.
Visit www.irs.gov for additional information on how to avoid becoming a victim in the future.