Local law enforcement warns of increased scam telephone calls during income tax season

Local law enforcement authorities want to remind people, especially since the tax season is in full swing, that they have received a lot of calls regarding scams. One very popular scam is from someone posing as an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent. The caller tells the victim that they owe the IRS money and that if they either hang up or don't pay, they will have the victim arrested. These individuals are usually very intimidating in their threats.

"I've seen call recipients nearly in tears after talking to one of these scammers," shared Waukon Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner. "In my 13-year career, I have never been involved in the arrest of someone that either owes the IRS money or has hung up on an IRS agent. I suspect that if someone owes the IRS money, they already know it. Similar to the 'if it's too good to be true...' adage, if it's too bad to be true, it probably is."

Local authorities say they are very aware of scammers requesting payment through pre-paid credit cards, iTunes cards, etc. The IRS and other organizations either do not accept payment by these means or at least don't demand it. These types of payment methods also hinder the capabilities of local law enforcement to track the scammer down and make recovery of monies nearly impossible - that is the intent of the scammer by demanding that type of payment.

Law enforcement officials stress that individuals should not provide any information about themselves to a caller. "Any legitimate caller will allow you to return a call to validate their number and organization," Assistant Chief Wagner said. "When calling a possible scammer back in an attempt to validate their claim, do not use the phone number that they provide - look it up by using the internet, a phone book, or through the phone company. Scammers will try to give you a number to call back which leads back to them."

If someone receives a call, they should not hesitate to contact their tax preparer or law enforcement to help validate the call. Furthermore, anyone receiving a scam call who did not provide any funds or information, doesn't necessarily need to contact law enforcement, but certainly can.
Scammers are more frequently using software that can conceal their phone number and instead displays a local number on caller ID. This method can definitely trick the victim into thinking they know the caller or assume the call to be legitimate.

Finally, local authorities have also received reports of scammers that pose as a family member in jail/prison. They make excuses such as being ill, involved in a traffic accident, or bad phone connection to explain them sounding like someone else. Officials advise that call recipients should make the "family member" confirm some piece of personal information to prove they are who they pose as - in all likelihood they cannot, simply because they are not who they say they are.

Any further questions or concerns can be directed to any local law enforcement agency.

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