SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The Sylacauga Police Department has received an increasing number of comments, calls, and visits regarding scams conducted over the phone.
The most frequent scams as of late are once more regarding unpaid debt to the IRS, as well as warrants that you can pay a certain amount of money to prevent “local law enforcement” from coming to arrest you. Remember that scams come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of ways to try and catch you off guard.
Here are a few things to remember:
• IRS Debt Scam – Know Your Finances
If you file your taxes and there have been no debts owed or a different amount, then you know your call is a scam. If you are unsure, never depend on your caller ID or the information the caller provides you. Ask for reference numbers, employee names, return contact information. However, don’t stop there. Visit www.irs.gov and/or call them at (800) 829-1040, or for the hearing impaired dial (800) 829-4059. Always dial the number yourself, even if it matches where your caller ID is saying the call is coming from. Scammers now have the capability to make their phone number look like any number they choose, so dial these numbers into your phone yourself. You can verify if there is a case and if there is an employee by the name given and redirected to handle the situation in the event that it is legitimate.
• Paying to Remove Warrants and/or Pay Someone’s Bond – Know Your Activity
If you receive a call saying local officers are on their way to execute a warrant against you unless you pay a fee immediately, you can dismiss it as a scam. If you have any doubts due to unpaid traffic tickets or situations that may cause concern, call the source. Call the local police department or the court system where your case or traffic citation is and they will look at what is going on. If you receive the newest scam to pay someone’s bond, again remember to call the source and they can give you bond information, as well as the charges the arrestee has if it is legitimate.
• Sweepstakes and Lottery Winnings – Keep in Mind “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”
If you haven’t entered a drawing, sweepstakes, or lottery, you will not be winning. If you haven’t traveled in the country or area that the lottery or sweepstakes is from, you will not be winning. If you have to pay for your winnings, you did not win. Let them know that you have turned over their information to the local police department, and they will no longer contact you.
• Unusual Pay Types or Sending Too Much Money
If you are asked to go get “Green Dot Cards,” or anything of a similar nature, or are offering to send you an extra amount of money so you can ship an item or pay someone else to do a service, it is a safe bet that you should walk away.
These are currently the most common scam types, but always be aware of a scam. Contact the Sylacauga Police Department with any suspicious behavior.