Here’s a tip that’ll help keep Ada County residents from being victimized by a pair of phone scams that keep going around.
Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies — or US Marshals — will never call and threaten to arrest you or any member of your family because you missed jury duty or didn’t pay back taxes.
Deputies will also never ask you to place funds for payment on a pre-paid credit card to “cancel the arrest warrant” for missing that phony jury duty.
IRS agents will not do that either. They will not demand immediate payment of back taxes without sending you a bill in the mail first.
No IRS agent will demand you pay taxes without giving you an opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
No one in authority – be it an ACSO deputy, US Marshal, or IRS employee — will ever ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. The same rule applies to social security numbers.
Over a dozen Ada County residents received phone calls last week from scammers pretending to work for the IRS.
For more details about the IRS scam and tips on how to avoid being a victim, check out https://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Phone-Scams-Continue-to-be-a-Serious-Threat,-Remain-on-IRS-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-for-the-2016-Filing-Season
The jury duty scam has been an intermittent presence over the last few years. Last week, the jury duty scammers were so brazen they told some Ada County residents which stories to go to to buy pre-paid credit cards.
In most recent cases, the scam caller identifies himself as an ACSO deputy and requests personal information so he can clear the person’s name and cancel the mythical arrest warrant for missing jury duty. In many cases, the “deputy” leaves a message that a specific family member needs to call.
People who call are greeted by someone who says “Sheriff’s Department.” The fake deputy then explains the mythical amount people “owe” has been anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $4,000.
The scammers tell their victims to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information.
The scammers acquire phone numbers with a 208 area code to make the scam seem more credible.
The Better Business Bureau says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of identify theft by never giving out any personal information when getting an unsolicited phone call.
Giving out sensitive information over the phone — both personal and financial — can put people at risk for fraud.
If you did miss jury duty in Ada County, you would get a letter in the mail.
If you have received one of these scam phone calls, contact the Ada County Sheriff’s Office at 377-6790 or the Better Business Bureau online at https://www.bbb.org/snakeriver/