YONKERS – The Yonkers Police Department has received information that Yonkers residents may be getting phone calls from random numbers claiming to be the IRS or other government agencies demanding either personal information or payment information; they may even threaten arrest.
These phone calls are scams, and often target our elderly and vulnerable population.
Please be aware of these type of phone calls, and never give out your personal information, bank or credit information over the telephone unless you are absolutely certain you know the organization you are speaking with and are engaged in a voluntary transaction.
These scammers may also pretend to be relatives suffering injury or incarceration, in an attempt to deceive people into sending money for medical care or release. Don’t Fall For It – Always Check With A Trusted Family Member Or Friend Before Sending Money!
The best way to handle unwanted, unsolicited, and unknown phone calls is to simply Hang-Up.
Scams Targeting Taxpayers
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Please See: Consumer Alert: Scammers Change Tactics, Once Again
Some con artists have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For more details see the IRS YouTube video: Tax Scams via Video Relay Service.
Con artists often approach victims with Limited English Proficiency in their native language, threaten them with deportation, police arrest and license revocation, among other things. IRS urges all taxpayers caution before paying unexpected tax bills. Please see: IRS Alerts Taxpayers with Limited English Proficiency of Ongoing Phone Scams. Note that the IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Yonkers Police Want You To Beware Of Telephone Scams
Recent advances in telephone technology (internet calling, voice-over IP, spoofing, etc.) has yielded an increase in the number of telephone based frauds and scams. The scammers often target the elderly and vulnerable members of our community.
The Yonkers Police Department wants you to be safe, and to protect yourself from becoming the victim of a telephone scam by following these simple guidelines:
- Your best protection is to just hang up the phone when called by someone you do not know. If you think that is rude, tell these callers politely that you are not interested, don’t want to waste their time, and please don’t call back – and then hang up.
- Be suspicious of unsolicited telephone calls. Scammers will often try to engage you by purporting to be a government or law enforcement official, a family member in distress or experiencing an emergency, or a charitable organization.The scammer’s goal is often to get you to give up money via wire transfer or even cash payment, or to steal your identity and bank information.
- Never give out your personal or financial details. Unless you initiated the call and or you know who you are speaking to, NEVER give out your personal information – especially your social security number, checking or debit or credit cards numbers, your date of birth or your name and address – to anyone over the telephone. The government – Police, IRS, Federal or State Agencies – will NEVER call or text you asking for money.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
- Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert, or just tell a friend.
- Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
- Check out a charity before you give. Ask how much of your donation actually goes to the charity. Ask the caller to send you written information so you can make an informed decision without being pressured, rushed, or guilted into it.