Sacramento police are warning residents of a phone scam in which suspects pose as law enforcement or Internal Revenue Service agents calling from phone numbers that appear to belong to the agencies.
Police said it appears scam groups have obtained personal information about their victims and are targeting senior citizens in the area.
Intended victims have received phone calls from an individual who identifies himself either as a law enforcement officer or IRS agent. In each instance, the caller identified the victim by name and also knew the victim’s Social Security number, according to a Sacramento Police Department news release.
The victims were told that they either owed taxes or had a warrant for their arrest. They were told an amount that must be paid to avoid being arrested and were directed by the caller to immediately go to their bank to withdraw the money owed. In some instances, victims also were directed to obtain a bond or money order and send it to the suspect.
If the victim becomes suspicious or hangs up, the suspect may call back from what appears to be a local law enforcement phone number, police said.
In one instance in which the scam nearly succeeded, the suspect offered to and stayed on the phone with an older victim as he drove himself to his bank. Police said the bank teller was alert to possible scams and intervened, asking to speak with the suspect on the phone. When questioned by the teller, the suspect hung up. But the suspect then called the victim back and the number showed as a Sacramento Police Department number, leading the victim to believe that police were en route to the bank to arrest him.
In two instances, the initial calls were placed from phone numbers with area codes of 915 and 716. Police said the call back number was found to be a “spoofing” number created to have the appearance of being from the police department.
Police stress that neither the IRS nor any other government or law enforcement agency will ever call and direct a person to pay fines in such a manner.
Anyone with information or who has been a victim of a recent scam is asked to call the Sacramento Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch line at (916) 264-5471.