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Scam Targets Local Area

By Staff | Jan 20, 2016

NEW?MARTINSVILLE?- Scams are heard about quite often these days, even in a small county such as Wetzel. In-fact, one man with local ties is wanting to spread the word about a scam after his mother became the target.

Steve Highley said he was visiting his mother in New Martinsville when she received a “scam robocall” saying the IRS was filing a suit against her.

“The scam is to tell people they need to wire cash immediately or face arrest,” Highley said.

Highley, angry that his mother could have fallen victim to the scam, offers the following advice: “The best way to deal with them is hang up the phone. Don’t call them back. If the IRS has a problem with you, they know your address and you’ll receive a stack of correspondence before they take any action against you.”

The Office of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey agrees with Highley’s advice.

According to the attorney general, scammers will often use what is known as “caller ID spoofing” to make it appear as if they are calling from an official government number.

Other ways to appear legit include the following: The scammer will also use fake IRS titles and badge numbers; use online resources to obtain a person’s name, address and other life details prior to calling; recite the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number; send fake IRS emails to support their scam; and calling a second time claiming to be the police or DMV to support their claim.

According to the attorney general, the IRS will, first and foremost, NOT call by telephone. Correspondence will come through the mail.

Also, the IRS will not demand that an individual pay taxes without allowing the individual to question or appeal the amount.

The IRS will not require an individual to pay taxes a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card, and the IRS will not ask for a credit or debit card number over the phone.

Finally, the IRS will certainly not threaten to bring in the police or other agencies to arrest an individual for not paying.