The Wright County Sheriff’s Office in Buffalo is reminding residents this tax season to keep personal information between yourself and your tax agent/accountant.
Several other phone scams have been prevalent lately across the area, including computer repair scams and a phone call from a supposed “Wright County” agent.
Recent scams have been targeting taxpayers by posting as organizations seeking information vital to fraud and identity theft. The sheriff’s office is reminding folks – do NOT give this information out over the phone.
Here’s the statement from the WCSO:
Keep your identity safe.
The IRS will not call you and ask for personal information or request payment in the form of gift cards or iTunes cards.
We have also had an increase in scams involving people calling and claiming to be computer repair personnel from Microsoft or another legitimate company and request on-line control of your computer to fix a problem or virus. They may try and walk you through instructions that will grant them remote access to your computer. Do not do this. This is a scam.
If you receive an unsolicited phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the IRS or some other government agency do not give them any personal information or bank information. Simply ask them what agency they are with, what office they are out of (City and State) and a phone number they can be reached at. You should be able to research this location and agency and verify the number. However, even if this number is verified still do not give any personal information over the phone as technology allows people to disguise phone numbers.
If someone is calling you and claiming to be from the IRS, FBI, or even the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and they are telling you that you have an active warrant for your arrest, and if you do not provide them with some form of payment over the phone, that the Sheriff’s Office will be responding to arrest you, this is simply not true. If there is an arrest warrant for you there is a very strong chance that you would already be aware of this as there would be numerous communication with you prior to it reaching the level of an arrest warrant.
If someone is calling you, claiming to be from a law enforcement agency, or claiming to be a relative that has been arrested, and they are telling you that you need to provide bail over the phone or by wire transfer, be very cautious. Here in Wright County, we do not allow bail to be paid over the phone and we certainly do not accept gift cards, credit cards, iTunes cards, or wire transfers as a form of payment. Some Counties may accept credit cards, but typically they will not accept it over the phone as there is paperwork that needs to be filled out prior to a person’s release.
The legitimate process of bailing someone out of jail does not need to be quick, as the scammer calling would like you believe. It is true that the sooner the bail is paid the sooner the person is released. However, nothing will change if this process is delayed while you verify the fact that this is a legitimate phone call. Most of the time the scammers do not know who your children, grandchildren, brother, sister or other relative is. They will only claim to be your grandson, daughter, nephew, etc., and wait until you say the name. Then they go off of the information that you inadvertently provided.
So, don’t become a victim of one of these scams. If you have an elderly friend or relative please inform them of these types of scams as they are most commonly the victims.