By Scott Bolthouse
Hub Editor in Chief
On Monday, July 28, Huron Township Police responded to a citizen who claimed they were the victim of a fraudulent IRS phone call.
According to Police Chief Everette Robbins, the victim, who lives in the 29000 block of Van Horn Road, stated that they were contacted by telephone regarding a debt that they owed to the IRS.
The fraudulent IRS employee informed the victim that they owed money to the IRS and that they needed to pay immediately to avoid being arrested, Robbins said.
According to Robbins, the victim was advised to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak Card, which is a prepaid card typically used by people who don’t have bank accounts. These cards are readily available at stores like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens.
After loading the card with money, the victim was told to call a phone number and give the card’s PIN number to the fake IRS employee.
According to Robbins, the victim complied with this request and in turn, lost thousands of dollars.
Robbins said that an initial investigation showed that the fraudulent IRS employee is located in a foreign country.
While prepaid phone scams aren’t necessarily new, this type of scam is becoming more prevalent.
Scammers will call and pretend to be a representative of the IRS or utility company, claim that they have a debt to pay off and then advise possible victims to buy Green Dot MoneyPak cards to pay off the debt.
Once the scammers have the card’s PIN number, they will transfer the funds to another card or account.
Scam artists prefer the Green Dot cards because they aren’t linked to bank accounts, and the funds on them are the same as cash and are untraceable.
Consumers can protect themselves from future fraudulent activity
According to the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone or email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication such as email, text messages or social media. The IRS uses the federal mail system to send official business to citizens.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, if you owe taxes or think you might, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then immediately call the IRS if you think you’ve received a fraudulent phone call.
The IRS says that they never ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information related to credit cards or bank accounts.
Possible fraudulent IRS activity should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484, as well as your local law enforcement agency.
Be weary of any phone calls trying to collect a debt, and keep in mind that many credible organizations don’t accept payment from a prepaid card.
Senior citizens are considered easy prey for fraudulent activity, so keeping them informed about the latest types of scams helps to keep them safe.
Huron Township Police will continue to investigate this incident.
Contact The Huron Hub’s Editor in Chief at ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com
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