• 55°

Sheriff warns of IRS phone scam

Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell says on average the office has received 10 phone calls per week regarding the recent IRS phone scam.  (Photo by Beth Hyatt)

Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell says on average the office has received 10 phone calls per week regarding the recent IRS phone scam. (Photo by Beth Hyatt)

Over the past few weeks the Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office has seen an influx of fake phone calls allegedly coming in from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Crenshaw County Sheriff Mickey Powell warns the citizens of the county of few key signs to spot the phonies and save your private information.

“There’s been a lot of calls here in the county and everywhere, really. Other sheriffs have been getting them, too,” Powell said.

“The callers say they will file a lawsuit if people don’t pay money. The IRS doesn’t call, and they’re not going to file a lawsuit and all of this.”

Powell stated that the calls began coming in a few weeks back, and since then the office has received approximately 10 calls per week regarding this topic.

Powell said that the calls reported all focus on the same topic: lawsuits for failure to pay. According to Powell, this is not a contacting method used by the IRS and should be ignored as well as reported.

“A lot of people get scared by this, because they are threatening lawsuits. If they call, just hang up on them,” Powell said.

“If the IRS is going to contact you, they will notify you by mail.”

While Powell has not personally seen any cases in the county where individuals have sent money to these agencies, he has noticed that many of the targeted individuals are elderly.

“There’s no telling how many folks actually send this money in. So many people take it so seriously,” Powell said.

While Powell and his office would like to see these calls end, he knows that the likelihood of that happening is zero to none. Powell stated that many of these calls come from foreign agencies and can therefore not easily be tracked and monitored. The best method for handling these calls, according to Powell, is to confuse the callers by turning the questioning back on them.

“If you start questioning these folks, don’t give them any pertinent information, like your driver’s license number or social,” Powell said.

“Ask them, well if I owe you money, what is my social security number? Put them on the spot, and they won’t know. That will tell you that it’s bogus.”