Phone scam targeting local residents in the Antelope Valley.
The scam starts with a phone call from an unknown suspect 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 must pay immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate they 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. 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 taken 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. The IRS employees at that line 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 never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant - choose “other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
Please visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov) for additional information on how to avoid being a victim in the future.
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LA Crime Stoppers: Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff’s station. Or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org