SANTA CRUZ — Telephone scammers have been calling Santa Cruz County residents posing as Internal Revenue Service agents and seeking immediate “tax penalty” payments over the phone.
The scam is being reported nationwide and has duped many people into making a payment. Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Consumer Affairs office warns residents to be wary of such calls. Furthermore, the IRS does not call taxpayers to make a payment over the phone.
Local residents have reported receiving the calls daily and some have reported being called two to 10 times per day, often by a recorded voice. The callers spoof the IRS toll free number on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling, the DA’s office said. They often leave a return number with a 202 area code in order make it appear to originate in Washington D.C.
The scammers identify themselves using common names and provide a phony IRS badge number. Then they threaten victims with arrest, fines, and even jail time if the “fines” are not paid. They are told that they need to pay the fines and fees by either wire transfer or by pre-loaded debit cards. Some victims have reported being frightened by the calls and have paid money out of fear. Others have reported that the callers are hostile and insulting when the recipient refuses to pay them. For the complete article see the 08-16-2014 issue.
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