OC Sheriff’s Office issues April 2018 Scams Update

In their continuing efforts to educate and inform citizens and to prevent them from becoming victims of scams, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office releases the April 2018 Scams Update. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office received word from a victim regarding an IRS scam. The victim received a call from an unrecognized number and the caller left a voicemail. The voicemail stated the victim owed $4,800 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The individual that left the voicemail went on to say that unless payment was made, arrest warrants would be signed by local police. After calling the number back, the victim was notified to place money to cover the amount of the money owed to the IRS on gift cards. Money was placed on the gift cards and the victim scratched off the back of the gift cards and provided the numbers on the back of the cards to the scammers. The victim was notified by one of the stores where some of the gift cards were purchased that the money had already been removed. “There are a couple of different components to this scam we are reporting on this month that we have seen in previous scams, one of those requiring payment to be made on a prepaid card,” says Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “As we have made mention of previously, legitimate businesses, organizations and entities will not require that payment be made using a prepaid card. A very important aspect to remember is that once a scammer is supplied the PIN number to a prepaid card, money can be removed and it is virtually impossible to recover those assets once they are lost.” Secondly, as we have mentioned in previous press releases, if the IRS seeks to contact you regarding a problem with your taxes, they will contact you by mail,” says Watt. “Scammers will use scare tactics in many cases to elicit an emotional response from victims where the victim is not thinking clearly and makes a rash decision. The Internal Revenue Service will never call to ask for someone to make an immediate payment and never threat to have local law enforcement arrest you.” Watt says that the best way to report an IRS scam or if you have a question regarding your tax status is to contact the Internal Revenue Service directly at 1-800-829-1040. You can also report an IRS scam online by going to the website of the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration at www.tigta.com. Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw would like to remind citizens that they can obtain a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months by going to www.annualcreditreport.com and filling out the required information.