The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office issued a scam alert following over 100 reports from residents of The Villages about fake IRS calls.
A local resident was scammed out of $1,800 according to Sumter County Sgt. Robert Siemer.
The scam goes like this: The caller, pretending to be an Internal Revenue Service representative, claims that an error was made on the persons 2012 tax return and that if payment is not made immediately by credit card, that sheriff’s office will send a deputy to arrest them.
“The IRS will not call you,” says Siemer.
Sheriff Farmer advises all residents to simply “hang up” if you receive a suspicious call.
We would also like to give you some other tips to avoid scams.
- Don’t ever give out personal information to anyone over the phone regardless of who they claim to represent. Most legitimate companies will already have the information they need and would send you a letter in the mail rather than call you. Do not ever provide any information to a person calling claiming to be from any organization especially your date of birth, Social Security number, address, etc.
- Ask the person calling you for their full name, representative ID and a contact number. Most scammers will not voluntarily give this information and will try to change the subject or redirect you.
- NEVER under any circumstances make a payment over the phone to someone who calls you. Even though most banks will help you if you feel you have been scammed, it is still a painful process trying to retrieve your money. Do not make any payments over the phone. If you feel there may be some validity to the call, ask the representative to mail you the paperwork including a statement.
While these tips will help you from actually being scammed, it is also important to prevent becoming a target. Scammers pull their calling list from numerous places on-line to choose their victims. They normally target senior citizens in retirement communities. Some ways to prevent becoming a victim are simple.
- Be wary of forms you fill out on-line. A lot of sites out there will sell your information to third-party companies. This includes emails, phone numbers, addresses, etc. Sites like these are commonly sites that have surveys, savings offers and others. If you are filling out a form, make sure that the URL in your browsers address bar is the same as the site you intended to go to. If you are providing personal information such as Social Security number, credit card number or banking information, make sure the site is on a secure server. To do this, look in your address bar just before the URL if it a secure site, you will see https:// rather than http://
- Be cautious of sites that ask you to log back in. Phishing sites are very common ways of scamming and even identity theft. A phishing site is a website designed to look like another website where users are lured in by links. For example, you may see a link on your Facebook wall and click on it, then be taken to a page that looks like Facebook asking you to log into your account. That is a phishing site. By “logging in” to that page, you are actually sending your Facebook log in information to an unknown source giving them access to your personal information, friends, relatives and more.
While most of these tips will help prevent becoming a victim, there are many other ways to be scammed. The best solution over the phone is to simply hang up. For more information on scam prevention, please contact our tech team at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be happy to help you identify areas you can prevent being targeted.
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