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Belmont police warn of phone scam

September 12, 2018
BELMONT – Police in Belmont are now echoing a warning that the Laconia Police Department had recently issued concerning the latest phone scam that claims to come from the IRS.

Capt. Richard Mann said his department began receiving calls from Belmont residents last week about the scam, and therefore wanted to make others aware of it as well.

"Please be aware that if the IRS needs to communicate with you, a taxpayer, it sends a letter — not an email, not a phone call, and definitely not a message over social media," Mann said in his press release.

Most of all, he added, the IRS will not ask someone to purchase a prepaid card from a nearby store to make any payment on overdue taxes.

According to the IRS, the scheme begins when scammers obtain a taxpayer's personal information and file a fake tax return, requesting the refund be deposited into the victim's bank account. A call to that victim is then made with the scammer posing as a representative of the IRS, demanding repayment in the amount of the refund. As part of their tactic, they often threaten people with criminal fraud, an arrest warrant or to "blacklist" their Social Security Number.

Mann cautions anyone who receives a phone message that states, "Time sensitive and urgent ... we found that there was a fraud and misconduct on your tax, which you are hiding from the federal government. This needs to be rectified immediately, so please return the call as soon as you receive this message." They should not return the call, he said, but contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040; businesses are asked to report the matter to 1-800-829-4933.

People should also be wary of purported IRS calls and/or emails claiming they owe money to the federal government. The IRS does not call individuals about tax matters nor do they send emails that are not solicited from the taxpayer. All suspicious emails stating they are from the IRS should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov.

Anyone who believes they have become a victim of identity theft or tax fraud is urged to report the matter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS also has detailed instructions available for those who receive what is believed to be a fraudulent tax refund, explaining how the money should be returned. For that and more information on tax returns please visit www.treasury.gov/tigta.

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