Few things strike fear into the hearts of mortal humans like getting a phone call claiming they are in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service or facing arrest for traffic tickets.
But Salt Lake City police say that’s what scammers are counting on: enough fear to overcome common sense, and open up your pocketbook.
On Thursday, SLCPD received two reports of callers claiming to be police officers who could help make IRS issues and tickets go away — for a price.
The scammers are using the names of real SLCPD officers, too, apparently snagging them from news reports or items on the departmental website.
Anyone receiving such calls is asked to immediately report them to SLCPD by calling 801-799-3000.
Meanwhile, here are some tips from the FBI on now to avoid this scam as well as other common fraud schemes.
• Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay for services only after they are delivered.
• Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of whom they are or where they can be reached.
• Never send money or give out personal information — such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or Social Security numbers — to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
• Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.
• If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.
• If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.