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Fraudsters Come Up With Numerous Scams

Tax season is making a popular telephone scam even more common. By now everybody should know that the IRS and law enforcement agencies do not -ever, under any circumstances- call anybody to say they owe money and must pay immediately. Scam artists posing as IRS agents have been making their pitch nationwide with great success. Recently many calls have been received locally from people saying they’re with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, telling the victim that they have a warrant for missing jury duty or for a variety of crimes. Sometimes they say a relative is in jail needing bail money. Scam calls sound very official and convincing, often including personal information about members of the household. The caller tells the victim that payment is due immediately, and failure to pay could result in arrest. The victim is ordered to transfer money via Western Union or Green Dot or some other untraceable service. Thousands of Americans have fallen for the scam, and have been cheated out of tens of millions of dollars. Hundreds of local residents have gotten the calls as well, but there’s no way of knowing how many have been swindled. An alternate version of the scam has the caller telling the victim that they’re owed a refund, but some personal information is needed before a check can be sent. No legitimate agency would ever demand personal information over the phone. These scams often target the elderly. The sheriff’s office asks people to be wary when they see someone trying to purchase pre-paid cards to pay a fine. They should be warned that they’re being ripped off. Information on what to do is a scam is suspected can be found at fraud.org.