National phone scam targets Madera residents

The Fresno BeeJuly 17, 2014 

The Madera Police Department announced Thursday that several Madera residents were reportedly the targets of a national scam aimed at defrauding taxpayers.

Victims of the scam are told either by phone or by email that they owe money to the IRS and that the balance must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. The scammers use fake names, fake IRS badge numbers and fake background noise to mimic the sounds of a call center. They also spoof the IRS toll-free number to make it appear that the IRS is calling. The scammer sometimes hangs up and a different scammer calls back pretending to be a police or immigration officer investigating a case.

The callers often grow increasingly angry if victims refuse to pay, which is a telling sign that the caller is not from the IRS, an IRS spokesman said. The IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone or request pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers as payment.

Anyone may call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to verify any tax information. Scam victims are asked to call the United States Treasury Inspector General at (800) 366-4484.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6015 or at rappleton@fresnobee.com.

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