Carson City Sheriff’s Office cautions public about IRS scams

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It’s tax season again, and this time of the year brings out the scammers trying to take away your money. Carson City Sheriff’s Office wants to remind everyone to pay close attention to those ongoing scams out there.

Every year, scammers come out with some version of an IRS scam saying, “You owe money or you will go to jail.” There are always some variations to this, and the public should understand the following as provided by the IRS on their website.

The IRS will never:

Call to demand immediate payment using a particular payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.

Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

Besides the IRS scams, we continue to see people fall for other scams on a regular basis. With the technology that is out there, the bad guys can hide anywhere. They can disguise their phone numbers and e-mails, making it seem as if they are contacting you from within the area when, in reality, they might be in another state or even another country. The scammers are “spoofing” their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. “Spoofing” allows the suspect to masquerade as someone else by falsifying the number that appears on the victim’s caller ID display or making it appear that a message came from any e-mail address the sender chooses.

In many of these scams, the bad guys want the victim to send money in a gift card, iTunes card, moneygram or wiring money in some way. No government agency or legitimate business will ask you to send money in this form of payment. Moreover, you have to ask yourself why a private person would want payment in this way also. If you fall for these scams, law enforcement will never be able to get your money back for you, pay attention to what your gut is telling you and know with whom you are conducting business.

Some of the other common scams and frauds we see are:

Telephone scams

Overpayment and fake check scams

Sales and rental scams

Law enforcement/court/emergency scams

Telephone scams: The telephone scam stories are endless, they range from “you have won a prize” such as money, a new vehicle, lottery winnings, and cheap travel packages. Alternatively, they can be credit reduction, loans, charitable causes, fake business and investment opportunities.

Overpayment and fake check scams: This scam is commonly seen when someone has an item for sale on a third-party website. The scammer will contact you usually by e-mail or text, indicating they want to purchase the item you have for sale. They will send you a check for a much larger amount than what the item is listed. The scammer will ask you to deposit the large check into your bank account and wire them the difference. A deposited check can take several days or more to clear. When the original check turns out to be fake and bounces, the victim is responsible for the amount to the bank. The scammer will often have explanations for why the check is so large and sometimes will tell the victim to keep some of the extra money.

Sales and rental scams: This is common with purchasing or renting property, homes or businesses. The scammer advertises online even with pictures telling potential victims to go by and look at the location. The scammer will never meet with you in person stating they are not able to. Then they will tell you to wire money to cover an application fee and security deposit. Once they have received your money, you will never hear from them again and the property was never actually available or owned by them.

Law enforcement/court scams/emergency scams: These scams involve someone contacting you stating they work for local law enforcement and you have a warrant or a fine to pay off. They will tell you it can all be handled over the phone with payment by a credit card. No law enforcement agency will contact you in this way to handle an issue with a fine.


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