The Virginia State Police has issued a warning of an ongoing phone scam where the caller claims to be an Internal Revenue Service representative and demands payment using verbal threats and intimidation.
The VSP said the caller I.D. number used by the scam is a legitimate VSP area office phone number, and the VSP has received numerous calls concerning the scam in recent days.
In each scam call reported to the VSP, the caller is described as having a “thick, foreign accent” and identifies himself or herself as working for the IRS. The scammer also has personal details about the individual being called, information commonly found by an Internet search.
The VSP said if recipients of the scam calls refuse to pay, the scammer becomes agitated and impatient and begins threatening individuals with imprisonment or other severe punishment if the person does not promise to provide payment.
Common characteristics of an IRS phone scam, the VSP said, include callers using fake names and IRS badge numbers, and they may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support bogus calls. Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site. After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up, and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or Department of Motor Vehicles. The caller I.D. seems to support the claims via “spoofing.”
The IRS never calls any taxpayer demanding payments. Never give out personal information such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information.
If you receive an inquiry from someone claiming to represent a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the number on your account statement, in the phone book or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request.
If you have a voicemail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker can spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voicemail if you do not set a password.