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Kansas City, MO – These scams prey on individuals with the ultimate goal of financial gain. Many times these scams prey on the elderly victimizing many of their entire life savings. These scams are not new, but they continue to evolve and manipulate victims by the use of threat, fear, and pressure. From spoofing of federal law enforcement agencies phone numbers, impersonating federal agents on the phone, and sending bogus emails purportedly from the government agency, these types of tricks are
being utilized to legitimize these scams.

Recently, law enforcement has seen an increase in impersonation scams of federal agents. The scam is initiated by telephonic contact with the victim. The scammer may have some information about an unwitting victim, ranging from the victim’s address to possibly even the last four digits of his or her social security number. The scammer oftentimes claims to be an IRS Agent and demands back payment for taxes due. The scammer will chastise the victim for ignoring correspondence from the government agency, hence the victim feels a sense of urgency to pay the back taxes.

Many financial institutions have safeguards in place pertaining to large and small sum wire transfers; however, law enforcement has recently learned that many of these thieves are “coaching” the victims on how to circumvent questions from bank employees and even family members should they be questioned regarding these financial transfers. The coaching of the victims is yet another mechanism utilized by these thieves to manipulate and extort an individual while continuing to evolve and adjust to counter any safeguards currently in place.

Scams have been seen across the nation where callers have claimed to be with the IRS, FBI, DEA, or other government agencies ranging from tax scams, lottery sweepstakes, and grandparent scams. Law enforcement cautions the public to be weary of unsolicited phone calls and phone and email scams that are purportedly from federal agencies. Be suspicious and verify the caller’s information directly with the appropriate agency.

Law enforcement will not demand payment over the phone and at no time will a taxpayer be asked to wire money to a foreign country to settle a debt owed to
the government. You will not be asked to verify personal or financial information over the phone, by email, or by text.

If you believe you are a victim of a phone or on-line scam, you can file a complaint online with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center atwww.IC3.gov. If you believe you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation scam” form on the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)