Albemarle Co. Police Warning About Phone, Text Scams

Aug. 12, 2014

The Albemarle County Police Department is reminding the community about scams circulating in our area and nationwide.

Officials say you should always be on your guard against these crimes and be hesitant to provide any personal identifying information via text or over the phone.

A victim recently reported receiving a text message which said it was from Bank of America. The victim called the number and answered questions through an automated system. He was prompted to provide his social security number, home address, name and bank card number. The victim called Bank of America and they informed him they would never send a text or use automated prompts which asking about account security. If you receive a text like this, please call your bank before providing any personal information.

There are many similar scams circulating which are highly sophisticated: There is a telephone scam in which thieves pose as IRS agents. According to a release from the IRS, the IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

Other characteristics of this scam include:

- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- 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 DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.


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