Getting complaints about spam phone calls from fake IRS agents trying to pilfer money from residents isn’t out of the ordinary for Lathrop Police Services this time of year.
But having their own phone number show up on the Caller ID screens of the residents that were targeted is a new twist on what has become a year-round scam to try and milk money out unsuspecting consumers that fall for the threats that come in the phone call.
According to Lathrop Police Services Chief James Hood, several complaints have been made this week from residents who were caught off guard by seeing the department’s number come up only to have somebody on the other end of the call demand payment or the local authorities would be paying them a visit.
“We absolutely would never place a phone call to collect money for the IRS, and the IRS doesn’t call people to inform them that they have a debt they need to clear,” said Hood. “If somebody gets one of these calls we suggest that they hang up immediately – don’t give out any personal information to the person on the other end – and call our dispatch center to file a complaint.”
While the scam varies from group to group that make the longshot calls, Lathrop residents have been receiving a form of the scam which threatens to involve local authorities if immediate payment is not provided to the caller – taking things a step further by spoofing the Lathrop Police Services number and not a Washington D.C. number to make the call look like it’s originating from the IRS itself.
That simple twist, Hood said, is something that officers have never seen before in Lathrop, and while these solicitations used to come only during peak times – like this week when the Federal income tax deadline looms – Hood has seen complaints about these popping up all year.
“There really isn’t a season for these calls like we used to see, and other types that would only come at certain times of the year are now appearing all-year as well,” Hood said. “Just this last week I received two of these phone calls myself.
“The IRS doesn’t contact you that way, and we’re never going to call you to schedule a time to come and serve a search warrant to assist the IRS – we don’t do that, and when we do serve warrants we don’t call people and let them know.”
Anybody who has received a fake phone call from the Lathrop Police Services line – appearing on Caller ID screens as 209.858.5551 – or any other number that uses high-pressure tactics and threats to get people to send immediate payments are urged to hang up and call the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department dispatch line and file a complaint with as much information as the caller can recall.
That number can be reached at 209.468.4400.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.