SURGE IN IRS PHONE SCAM OBSERVED IN HUNTERDON COUNTY

The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office has seen an increase in phone scams recently as citizens throughout the county have been receiving aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents. These scam artists threaten unsuspecting citizens with police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. According to Prosecutor Kearns, “Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official. Unfortunately, trying to track down these criminals is very difficult because many of these scammers are operating from overseas. In order to protect yourself from these types of crimes you must never give out personal information over the phone. It is also very important to remember that the IRS and other federal agencies will never request personal information, harass, or request immediate payment over the phone.” The IRS will never: • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do: • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately. • Contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the call or contact by telephone at 800-366-4484. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-0010 or by going to www.crimestoppershunterdon.com, or text messaging “HCTIPS” plus your tip message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters can also download the free mobile app “Tipsubmit” and select Hunterdon County to submit anonymous tips via text messaging. All tips are anonymous and kept confidential