Citizens should know the following about phone or “phishing” scams:
- Scammers make unsolicited calls. Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS, Court, or law enforcement officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill or fine. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via phishing emails.
- Callers try to scare their victims. Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.
- Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS, Court or another law enforcement agency is calling. The callers use official titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official. They also research the area they are targeting and often use elected officials specific names.
- Cons try new tricks all the time. Some schemes provide an actual official address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Others use emails that contain a fake official documents with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.
- Scams cost victims over $23 million. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam. (this is for the IRS only and does not include the other scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission FTC)
Citizens should know the following about law enforcement and government agencies in Boise County:
The Boise County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) or Boise County Court will not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment. The BCSO will not call you if you owe fines or missed jury duty without first sending you a notice in the mail.
- Demand that you pay fines and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
- Require that you pay your fines a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
If you didn’t miss jury duty, owe fines, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “Phishing or phone” in the notes.
- If it is using a specific agency name, for example: Boise County Sheriff’s Office, call that agency and let them know.
Phone scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants to the U.S. and those who speak English as a second language. Now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone. And they’ve ripped-off people in every state in the nation.
Stay alert to scams that use the “government” as a lure. Phone or phishing scams can happen any time of year.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Boise County Sheriff Jim Kaczmarek:
3851 Highway 21
P.O. Box 189
Idaho City, ID 83631