City officials are reporting a rise in phone scams, which predominantly target senior citizens.
Phone scammers, who identify themselves as Treasury Department clerks, falsely tell people they owe taxes to the IRS.
“Scammers would tell residents if they don’t pay immediately, the IRS would call the local sheriff and get them arrested,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, Community Liaison for Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side.
More than 100 residents have reported the scam, and the issue is currently being investigated by the Attorney General’s office. The City Council has warned New Yorkers not to provide any private information over the phone to strangers. If any legal action were actually being brought against a person, then he/she would be notified by certified mail, not over the telephone.
If scammers were unsuccessful in reaching residents on the phone, they left a voice mail and provided a phone number to call back. “Residents who called back were charged hefty fees,” said the statement provided by the council member.
According to the report, some of the phone numbers to watch for are: 213-985-1928; 760-284-3280; 202-864-1122. However, other phone numbers might be in use as well, according to the officials.
“It’s really upsetting that scammers prey on the most vulnerable,” said Fitzpatrick. “But it’s an unfortunate fact.”