Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois encourages residents to be careful and aware of new scams criminals attempt to pull off on unsuspecting citizens. Callers posing as IRS representatives contact taxpayers by phone, claiming that they owe money to the IRS or that two certified letters were sent to the taxpayer in the mail, but were returned as undeliverable. Taxpayers are told that they must pay the balance promptly using a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer or be subject to punishment, including arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
In the most recent version of this scam, thieves use phishing and other schemes to steal client data from tax professionals. Then, using that data, they file fraudulent tax returns and use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts to deposit erroneous tax refunds. Finally, the thieves, posing as IRS, debt collection agency officials, or law enforcement, call attention to the error and ask taxpayers to return the money to them. The thieves “spoof” the IRS phone number to make the façade all the more real.
To report IRS Scams you may call 1-800-366-4484.
Closer to home, on Mon., Mar. 19, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received several calls from concerned citizens about a scammer identifying himself as a Lieutenant of the Sheriff’s Office. He goes on to state that Jury Duty was missed and the only way to take care of this offense is through a Civil or Criminal Procedure and that Deputies will go to your home or place of employment to arrest you. The scammer tells the caller they can avoid arrest by placing a sum of money on a Green Dot card, call back the scammer and make arrangements to send the card to him. The scammer has gone as far as creating a fake Orange County Sheriff’s Office voicemail to make the caller feel as though they have really called the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff DuBois stated, “The Orange County Sheriff’s Office does NOT solicit fines over the phone. Don’t fall for the tricks. If you are suspicious of any caller you should contact your local police or the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 845-291-7900. Please never send money to any unverified source.”
Report Scams and Fraud from USA.gov
There are many kinds of scams and fraud and it is sometimes hard to figure out where to report each type. First, file a report with your local police department. You may also contact your state regulators (for example, consumer protection office) about scams and fraud. Violations of federal laws should be reported to the federal agency responsible for enforcement. Federal agencies can rarely act on your behalf, but they can use complaints to record patterns of abuse. This enables an agency to take action against a company or industry. If you suspect fraud, take these steps:
- Common scams and fraud – Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
- IRS and other government imposter scams – Report someone pretending to be from the IRS to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or by calling 1-800-366-4484. File a complaint about other government imposter scams with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Identity theft or data breaches – Report identity theft, when someone steals your personal information to apply for credit, file taxes, and commit other fraudulent acts, to IdentityTheft.gov. This service can also help you develop a recovery plan.
- Telephone scams – File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission about mysterious charges on your bill (cramming), an illegal switch of your service (slamming), or telemarketing.
- Internet fraud – Submit a complaint to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) about phishing or spoofing, when a scammer uses fake email, text messages, or copycat websites to try to steal your identity or personal information. You can also report malware, dangerous software designed to disable computers and computer systems, and other related issues to the IC3.
- Mail fraud – Contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service about scams or deceptive ads via the mail and other related fraud.
- Medicare or Medicaid fraud – Contact the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services about scammers who try to get your personal information or Medicare number to steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. For Medicaid fraud, file a complaint with your state’s Medicaid program office. Use the Fraud and Abuse Reporting Directory (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) (PDF, Download Adobe Reader) to find the contact information for your office.
- Investment fraud – Contact the Securities and Exchange Commission or your state’s securities regulator about scams related to offers using fake claims to get someone to invest.
- International scams – File a complaint about e-commerce (business or trade that takes place on the internet) to econsumer.gov. Report other fraudulent business practices to the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.
- Immigration fraud – Report the illegal use of documents or illegal actions to get around U.S. immigration laws to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
- Census fraud – Contact the Census Bureau about scammers who pretend to collect your personal information for the government.
- Moving fraud – To report a dishonest moving company within the same state, file a complaint with your state utility commission. For complaints about interstate moving services, file a report with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Credit and loan fraud, mortgage scams, and other financial fraud – Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about credit and loan-related fraud, including money transfers, credit reports, and other financial services. Visit Stopfraud.gov to find out which agencies to contact about student loan fraud and mortgage scams.
- Social Security fraud – File a complaint with the Social Security Administration’s Inspector General about alleged fraud, waste, or abuse.
- Misuse of federal funds – Contact the Government Accountability Office through the FraudNet form.
Reporting a fraud to an agency may not recover everything that you lost, but it does improve your chances of getting some of it back and avoiding future losses. It also helps law enforcement authorities stop scams before other people become victims. Learn the warning signs of common scams and fraud to protect your personal and financial information.