Sheriff: resurgence in local phone scams

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Local law enforcement says it’s seeing a resurgence of two of the most recent, and popular, phone scams to hit Shawnee County this summer.

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office has received so many calls in recent weeks, as has the KSNT Newsroom, that it issued the following reminders.

The first are phone calls to unwary residents from fake agents of the Internal Revenue Service threatening immediate legal action if allegedly past-due IRS payments are made. The caller usually requires the money to be paid through a pre-loaded debit card or a wire transfer.

The victim of the call is then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license – all things the IRS has no authority to do. Law enforcement agencies, like the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office, say the IRS will never ask for credit card numbers and their usual first contact with a person is via the US Mail.

The IRS has warned this particular scam is becoming more sophisticated with the would-be scammers even “spoofing” the federal agency’s phone numbers. While the call may show a valid IRS call center’s number, the call is actually being made from somewhere else in the US, or in many cases outside US borders.

Those receiving the calls are urged to never make a payment to these callers, and if you think there may be a problem, or are unsure whether the call is legitimate, simply hang up and call the IRS yourself. Their toll free number is 1-800-829-1040.

The second scam resurfacing in recent weeks involves a caller claiming to be a law enforcement officer stating the person has missed a jury duty appearance, and must make a payment on a court subpoena to avoid going to jail. Again, victims are told they can use the same type of payment methods as the previous scam to solve the problem.

In Kansas, if you miss jury duty you’ll get a letter – not a phone call – asking you to contact the court to reschedule your jury duty. And court officers will never ask for money for missing jury duty.

We’ve added some links to this story of other recent scams to hit northeast Kansas in recent weeks.

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