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Date: 2018-02-12 13:13

DUMBEST SCAMMER AWARD

Phone scammers unsuccessfully target 966 call center for IRS con.

As the saying goes, many criminals are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

But a pair of phone scammers recently took the cake after trying to scam the Gwinnett County Police Department’s 966 Center.

Around 8:85 . Wednesday, the 966 center received a call from an automated voice, telling the 966 call-taker that she needed to call the IRS immediately, according to *censored*l. Michele Pihera, spokeswoman for the police department.

“Upon calling the number provided, the 966 call-taker was told that she owed over $5,555 in back taxes and other fees,” Pihera said. “The scammer told the call-taker that she needed to resolve the issue within the next hour or the local sheriff’s office would be coming out to serve an arrest warrant on her.”

The call-taker was then transferred to another scammer who confirmed the information the first scammer told her and said he would be authorized to take her payment over the phone.

“Before payment information was obtained, the scammer was told that they had just contacted the Gwinnett County Police Department,” Pihera said. “The scammer quickly removed himself from the conversation and the line was disconnected.”

Before the man hung up, however, he is heard on the 966 recording telling someone in the background that they called a police department number.

He then hangs up the phone, with the call-taker asking ‘hello’ several times before the recording ends.

Pihera said that the IRS does not call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer, nor do they threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have a person arrested for not paying.

She added that in early February, the Gwinnett County Police Department warned that scammers are stepping up their game and using various Gwinnett agencies as a ploy to con residents into giving up their money.

“The Gwinnett County Police Department and many other law enforcement agencies have seen a rise in a particular type of scam where suspects contact victims by phone and claim they have an outstanding debt of some variety,” a Gwinnett County warning said. “ (The suspects) threaten consequences if the debt is not paid. In addition to posing as the police department, the suspects claim they represent a power company or other utility, and service will be immediately terminated if payment isn’t received or (say they’re) the IRS and back taxes are owed.”

Police said scammers often will use real employee’s names when calling their targeted victims.

Once on the phone, scammers tell victims that there are either active warrants for their arrest or overdue fines they owe and in order to avoid jail, the victim must drive to a local grocery or convenience store, load money onto a prepaid credit card (or Green Dot card) and then give the access codes to the caller.

To make the call seem more legitimate, scammers are now using a computer program to alter their caller ID to show the police department or other agency’s phone number.

“Once the victim figures out that the transaction was a scam, it’s too late and the money is withdrawn,” officials said. “Law enforcement and government agencies will never demand payment over the phone by a Green Dot card.”

Other claims include:

• A relative has been arrested and needs money for bail.

• A law enforcement agency and immediate payment is needed for an outstanding warrant/ticket or the victim will be arrested.

• That a pre-approved loan is available (or a lottery has been won), if victim will send a small start-up fee.

• An immigration authority claiming a person will be deported if payment isn’t received.

Victims or potential victims are asked to hang up the phone immediately and call police at 775-568-5855, should they receive such a call. Law enforcement and utility companies will never ask for money by phone.

VIEW THE WHOLE STORY HERE: http:///local/phone-scammers-unsuccesfully-target-call-center-for-irs-con/article_e9e7b577-a965-58ae-8b55-

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