Salida Police Department recently issued a warning about a new scam that involves callers stating they are calling from a local law enforcement agency and using names of actual deputies or officers.
The caller states they are advising the subject of a warrant, and gift cards are required as payment to avoid arrest, a press release stated.
Salida Police Chief Russ Johnson said several reports of similar scam calls have occurred in the Salida area recently.
He said the best thing to do upon receiving such a call is to hang up immediately, especially if someone is asking for gift cards as payment.
Law enforcement agencies will never phone people to say they need to contact them to make payments in regard to a warrant. If someone has a warrant, they will be arrested.
Salida police also remind the public:
• The IRS does not contact anyone via phone or email.
• Banks will not contact you and ask for personal information.
• The police department does not make phone calls asking for donations.
• Companies do not make contact via phone, text or email about someone’s phone or computer having viruses or other issues.
• Scammers are able to spoof caller ID numbers to make it look like a legitimate call.
The police advise never to give any personal information to a caller.
The Internal Revenue Service also warns the public to be on the lookout for tax-related scams, which occur year-round but peak during tax-filing season.
The IRS annual “Dirty Dozen” tax scam list for 2019 included:
• Phishing: Fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or tax refund.
• Phone scams: Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as con artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
• Identity theft: Taxpayers should be alert to tactics aimed at stealing their identities, not just during the tax filing season but all year long.
• Return preparer fraud: Be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service. There are some dishonest preparers who operate each filing season to scam clients, perpetuate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers.
• Inflated refund claims: Taxpayers should take note of anyone promising inflated tax refunds. Preparers who ask clients to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at taxpayer records or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund are probably up to no good.
• Falsifying income to claim credits: Con artists may convince unsuspecting taxpayers to invent income to erroneously qualify for tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Taxpayers should file the most accurate tax return possible because they are legally responsible for what is on their return.
• Fake charities: Groups masquerading as charitable organizations solicit donations from unsuspecting contributors. Be wary of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate charities.
Scam calls can be reported to Salida Police Department at 719-539-6880, although a written report will only be filed if money was lost to the scam.
To file an IRS impersonation scam complaint, visit tigta.gov or call 800-366-4484.
For those who think they might owe taxes, call 800-829-1040.
To report a scam to the Federal Trade Commission, call 877-382-4357.