The Winchester Police Department has noticed a marked increase in reports of phone scams.
Many reports have involved victims that were coerced into sending scammers money via gift cards, debit cards, credit cards, or wire transfers under the pretense that they would be arrested for failing to do so. This scam is commonly used by individuals claiming to be part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but reports of scammers using other organizations have also been reported.
Please be aware that the (IRS) will NOT call you – even if your caller ID reads “IRS,” the call is fraudulent. The IRS will ONLY contact you through the U.S. mail – no email communications claiming to be from the IRS are valid, either.
If the IRS does contact you by mail, they will not request a specific type of payment. Please consult with a local tax professional if you have any questions as to the validity of such communications.
Also beware of organizations claiming to collect donations for the victims of the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Only make donations to organizations that are well known and that you trust – like the Red Cross or your church. For more information, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/08/wise-giving-wake-hurricane-harvey?utm_source=govdelivery.
The elderly are particularly susceptible to these scams, so please warn your family and neighbors against giving personal and banking information over the phone. If you or someone you know happens to become a target, hang up the phone, write down the phone number (if possible), and report the activity to the Winchester Police Department at 540-662-4131.
More information can found at the following website: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0519-irs-imposter-scams-infographic.