FBI warns about scam

The FBI Jacksonville Division issued a news release Thursday saying it has received numerous reports of scammers targeting north Florida residents with calls where the caller claims to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service or other government agency.

Federal agencies do not threaten individuals or demand immediate payment. The FBI asks that you spread the word about this scam and do not fall for it.

There are many versions of the impersonation scam that uses intimidation tactics.

The caller typically says that charges will soon be filed and threatens to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze their bank accounts, or have them arrested unless payment is made. If the resident questions the caller, they just become more aggressive.

The recipients are advised that it will cost thousands of dollars in fees or court costs to resolve the matter, and the caller typically instructs people to wire “settlement” money or provide payment via prepaid cards or gift cards to avoid arrest.

The FBI wants to remind all citizens that agencies do not call or e-mail individuals threatening them or demanding that they send money.

To make it seem real, the scammers “spoof” caller ID information so they appear to be coming from a federal agency’s phone number. Hang up immediately and report the call to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Filing a complaint allows analysts from the FBI to identify leads and patterns.

The IC3 then refers the complaints to the relevant law enforcement agency for follow-up.

If you think you have been the victim of an IRS impersonation scam, file a report online with the Treasury Inspector General at www.treasury.gov/tigta. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov.

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