- You receive a phone call from the IRS claiming
you have a past-due tax bill and need to pay the bill immediately or you willbe arrested.
- You receive a telephone call from someone
claiming to be a relative, or someone stating they are with your relative, andthey are in trouble. They are requesting money to help or save your relative’s
- You receive a letter in the mail stating someoneknows “what you did” and will release all of the “secrets” they have on you
unless you pay them a certain amount of money.
- You are offered payment for goods or services byplacing a large check written by a requestor into your bank account then
writing a smaller check from your banking account to a requester.
What do the above statements have in common? They are all FAKE, PHONY, and FRAUDULENT.
All across cities and towns in the United States, people have been receiving letters in the mail and telephone calls containing some of the above statements and information. The letter may be sent by someone with a familiar name or address. The telephone number calling may appear to be from your area or area code and first three digits of your phone number.
You read the letter or listen to the person on the other end of the phone and become scared and frightened. Out of desperation, you follow the provided instructions and proceed to send large amounts of cash or store gift cards to a Post Office Box in another state, or make a bank transfer from your bank account to the bank account of the requestor. You may even accept and place a check written for a large amount of money into your bank account then write a check for a smaller amount of money and send it to the requestor, hoping to keep the remaining balance.
Unfortunately, in all of the above situations, you havebecome the victim of FRAUD, you have LOST YOUR MONEY, and chances are that YOU
WILL NEVER SEE YOUR MONEY AGAIN.
The reality is this:
- The IRS will NEVER CALL YOU regarding a past-duetax bill or other tax problem.
- A relative is likely not calling you for help.
It is a scammer, a person claiming to be a relative or a friend of a relative,trying to get money from you.
- No one knows what you did, and no one is going
to release any information. This is blackmail.
- The check you receive in the mail IS BAD – ITWILL BOUNCE and YOU WILL LOSE ANY MONEY YOU WRITE TO THE REQUESTER.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from
becoming a victim of the above:
- If you get a call from someone claiming to befrom the IRS, HANG UP ON THEM. DO NOT PROVIDE any information - date of birth,
social security number, or driver’s license number. Contact the IRS directly bylooking for information at their website: www.irs.gov,
or speak with you own personal tax advisor or tax preparer.
- If you receive a telephone call from a relativestating they are in trouble, or someone claiming to be with your relative who
is in trouble, HANG UP THE PHONE and CALL THE RELATIVE DIRECTLY on a PHONENUMBER YOU KNOW, not one you are given. Chances are the relative is fine, and
if they are not, they should let you know when you call and explain thesituation.
- If you receive a letter in the mail stating
someone knows “what you did”, IGNORE IT. DO NOT CONTACT ANYONE LISTED IN THELETTER, DO NOT PROVIDE ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, and DO NOT
SEND ANY FORM OF PAYMENT (cash, checks, gift cards, etc.)
- NEVER accept a check for more than the amountdue from an unknown party. NEVER place the check into your account, and NEVER
write a check based off the funds issued in the check you received. YOU WILLLOSE MONEY and the check you received WILL BOUNCE.
People who commit the above fraudulent activities are playing off your emotions, tugging at your heartstrings, and trying to get you so overwhelmed with confusion and frustration that you eventually succumb to their requests and give them your money.
Many times these people are operating in foreign countries and have middle-men working in the United States who forward any monies sent.
Investigating these crimes is difficult and next to
impossible, and you have a very low chance of seeing your money again. However,you have a very high chance of becoming a victim of identity theft by releasing
all of your personal identifying information, including your social securitynumber, driver’s license number, and date of birth.
Despite what may be said to you in a letter or over the
telephone, these activities are all FRAUDULENT, and you will become a VICTIMand will LOSE any amount of MONEY and PERSONAL INFORMATION you provide.
If you have any questions or need any further information, please contact the Atherton Police Department at 650-688-6500.
Thank you for taking the time to read the above.