By Police Chief Berg
If it can be thought of, they will do it.
I am referring to criminals and the scams that are prevalent in today’s society. Those out-of-the-blue calls and emails stating you just won a large sum of money (in a lottery or contest that you never took part in), or inheritance that you have coming to you from a distant relative in another country, and all you have to do is pay the taxes on it for it to be yours are just too good to be true. Getting your personal information is what these scam artists are phishing for, and they prey on your vulnerabilities, like family. The grandson/daughter in distress scam includes a call from a person pretending to be from a jail in another state or country and they claim that they have your grandson or granddaughter in custody and need money to get them out. Do not give out any information, instead copy down the phone number the call is from and search the web, some numbers may be published online as reported scams and linked to criminal activity.
The most frequent occurring scam is the call from a person stating that they are from the IRS and that you owe back taxes and will be arrested, within minutes, if you don’t send them money. Especially this time of year, these scammers will target students and parents claiming they owe payments for non-existent taxes such as the "Federal Student Tax." Per the IRS website some red flags to look for are:
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police of 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.
If you have any doubts about a situation, please don’t hesitate to call the police department (586)446-2800 and ask questions.