By Tim Kowols and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski
With tax preparation on many minds over the coming weeks, law enforcement is reminding people to be aware of calls from Internal Revenue Service as it may be a scam. Like many similar seasonal scams, the callers perpetrating the crime are playing on the emotion of the people on the other end of the line. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is important to remember that government agencies will communicate with you in different ways a number of times before taking formal action.
Joski advises people who think they are being scammed to hang up the phone and alert law enforcement officials to let them know that the issue is prevalent.
Throughout the year I try to provide information regarding scams and frauds, and there are no shortages of the types and tactics which are used to perpetrate these crimes. While some are not specific others are linked to certain times of the year, so as to appear legitimate and logical in their presentation. One tactic they all share is the need to raise the targeted victim’s emotions thus increasing the chance of cooperation. Such is the case with tax season. There are few things that create more stress in the lives of hard working adults than that of interaction with the Internal Revenue Service, so when a call is received that there is an issue, our first response is to do whatever we can to resolve it.
As in any potential scam that poses as a government agency, the request for monetary exchange should be met with a high degree of suspicion. Any legitimate government organization will communicate first through traditional means of correspondence such as a letter in the mail to make you aware of any possible issues. Most likely, numerous attempts will be made to rectify the situation prior to any formal action. Even when all communication has failed and the process then must take an enforcement action, again numerous attempts will be made to bring the matter to a conclusion through formal documentation.
At no time would a government agency demand money over the phone to satisfy a fine or obligation. Many times these fraudulent callers will use the threat of arrest to gain compliance. This again should be a reason to doubt the legitimacy of the caller.
We live in a great country with many safeguards as it pertains to individual’s rights and the limitations of infringement on those rights. Before a person is arrested, they will have been given due notice of the reason for that arrest and not rely on a phone call to gain compliance in a monetary transaction. The best course of action in these situations is to hang up. If you are in fact facing any type of action be it through a local state or federal agency, a more formal and documented process will ensue. For more information contact: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Identity-Protection