Press release from Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office:
Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office continues to receive reports of IRS scam operations – for a total of 18 since January 1.
The caller identifies himself (or herself) as an employee of the Internal Revenue Service and tells the victim that they owe unpaid taxes. If the victim protests, the caller may ask for their social security number for confirmation. This is an identity theft scam to obtain personal information, including birthdates, bank account information, and credit card numbers. To obtain money, they may threaten to freeze the victim’s assets or send law enforcement to arrest them. Conversely, the caller may tell the victim that they are due a refund to obtain personal information.
Caller ID “spoofing,” which allows the caller to adopt a fake phone number and/or name, may be another element of the operation, so residents should not automatically assume the information displayed in their caller ID accurately identifies the caller. Some victims are reporting that the call/message is automated.
The IRS reports that they will NEVER:
– call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill,
– demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe,
– require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card,
– ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, or
– threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
In addition to telephone scams, residents should be wary of e-mail phishing scams, where the e-mail appears to be from the IRS and includes a link to a fake web site intended to mirror the official IRS web site (e.g., IRSgov – without a dot between “IRS” and “gov). Clicking on the link or an attachment may download malicious software onto a computer. The IRS asks that recipients forward the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.