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State Police report rash of scam phone calls

HOUGHTON COUNTY — The Michigan State Police Calumet Post wants to again remind the public not to provide any banking or personal information to persons over the telephone.

In the event of receiving a call from an unknown number or person claiming to a relative who asks for money for any reason, including, but not limited to, being in jail for an arrest, do not provide information.

Numerous people have reported to the police that they have received calls from parties claiming to be a relative, and cannot talk clearly because of a crash or other circumstance, and ask for money to be released from jail, according to a release.

The post has also received numerous complaints from citizens who advised they are receiving calls from parties claiming to be an agent of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), requesting personal information, or they want to verify personal information, because of possible fraudulent activity. Again, do not provide any personal information to the caller, the release advises.

On May, 15, the IRS published a similar warning on its newsroom website, in which it listed a number of characteristics of scam calls, including:

• Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves.

• Scammers may know the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number.

• Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS or another local law enforcement agency is calling.

• Scammers may send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls.

• Victims hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site.

• After threatening victims with jail time or with, driver’s license or other professional license revocation, scammers hang up. Others soon call back pretending to be from local law enforcement agencies or the Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

The IRS website states that taxpayers should remember that any one of these is a tell-tale sign of a scam. It also provides information on what the IRS does not do:

• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.

• Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

• Call about an unexpected refund.

For additional questions, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-warns-of-new-phone-scam-using-taxpayer-advocate-service-numbers, or call the Michigan State Police at (906)337-5145.

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