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Type of Crime Bulletin:
Phone Scams / Fraud

Date and Time:
September 2014 ? October 2014

Over the last month law enforcement has seen an increase in phone scams that have affected the university community. In most reported cases the caller(s) is a male subject who identifies himself as an agent with the IRS. The caller(s) then threatens the victim that they will be arrested if back taxes are not paid in the form of money orders or prepaid credit/debit cards. After threatening victims with jail time, the scammer(s) hang up and soon call back pretending to be from the local police department with the caller ID supporting their claim. Law enforcement has learned that the phone number used in some of the phone scams displays as the Columbia Police Department's (CPD) main number (803.545.3500).

Members of the Carolina Community are encouraged to report suspicious persons or any related crime tips to law enforcement, or CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888-CRIME-SC. To send anonymous tips via text or online, go to: www.midlandscrimestoppers.com

What you can do:
Do not engage in a lengthy conversation with the caller.
Be wary of anyone who asks for personal information. Do not give out any information to a person, business, or Web site you have not verified as a reputable source.
Never give your credit card or banking information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS (800.829.1040). The IRS employees can help you if there really is such an issue.
If you know you don?t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then notify local police immediately.
If the caller identifies themselves as law enforcement or from another state/government agency, get a phone number to call back and verify the intention/information.
If the calls continue, keep a detailed log of the times, topic and demands, then provide police with the information. This will aid in the investigation.

Posted Thu, 09 Oct 2014 19:39:23 GMT

To view Crime Alerts prior to 3/15/2012, please visit our old Crime Alerts page.