SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Police departments across Missouri are warning people about aggressive phone calls from people claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service.
In recent months, many local residents are receiving phone calls from scammers trying to steal money or your identity.
Kathy Blood owns a tax services and hears about the scams all the time. She tells KOLR10, “For the past several years, taxpayers have been receiving scam calls. People, normally they’re heavier-accented folks, identifying themselves as Internal Revenue Service representatives saying they owe money, they’re being sued, they’ve been audited.”
Blood said it can be easy to trust people claiming to be tax professionals. But there’s one important fact not many know. “The IRS does not call people.”
She said generally, the IRS will not contact you over the phone unless you’ve had prior tax issues.
And the scammers can be clever.
“I had a client last week that got called, and then they got another call saying ‘the sheriff will be after you,’ and they had changed the phone number on their caller Id to be the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.”
Chuck Niess with the Joplin Police Department tells KOLR10 “First off, don’t ever give out personal information over the phone unless you’ve initiated the call. If someone calls you seeking that information, don’t release the information.”
Niess said it’s difficult for local police to target scammers so it’s important to be careful.
“Unfortunately, as far as the local police departments, you cannot do a whole lot with these calls. A lot of them come in from overseas.”
And for the scammers, it doesn’t take much to be successful.
“I think they just call random numbers. It’s kind of like going fishing – they throw out the line and hope they catch something.”
But if you’re careful, they should go home empty-handed.
If you would like more information on how to protect yourself from being the next victim from IRS scams, check out these links: