Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

The Michigan City Police Department has received multiple reports of the IRS phone scam resurfacing and targeting La Porte County residents.

The scammers claim to be calling to inform people they owe the IRS money, and it is their last warning prior to being arrested. They call, and if you do not answer, are now leaving messages on answering machines demanding immediate call back or face arrest by your local police department or lose your driver's license.

In many cases the caller becomes hostile and insulting. The scammer tries to obtain/verify personal and/or financial information over the phone.

Here are following facts about this scam:

• Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

• Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.

• Scammers mimic the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.

• Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.

• Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site. After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you are the target of a scam, you should do the following:

• If you know you owe taxes, or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.

• If you know you don't owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then hang up the phone.

Do not engage in conversation with these callers as this is what they want as they are attempting to intimidate you.

If you feel you have been scammed or someone is attempting to cheat you, contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski 219-873-1461, ext. 333 or email AskACop@emichigancity.com.

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