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Carmel police warn about fake IRS, FBI scammers

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CARMEL, Ind. (Sept. 25, 2015)-- The Carmel Police Department is warning citizens about scammers pretending to be the IRS and FBI. At least 20 people called Carmel Police about the scam on Friday, according to  Lt. Joe Bickel.

“Typically the scammers try to prey upon the elderly, but really anybody can become a victim to this type of situation," Bickel said.

This scam involves a recorded message from the FBI or IRS. They say you owe money and ask you to call a 765 area code number.

If you don't pay fines you allegedly owe, they say you will be arrested.

“It was very scary," Mark Borcherding, a potential victim, said. His message said if he didn't call right away the IRS would be at his home with a collection agency for the penalties he owed.

"It's like, 'boy I don’t think I have any problem with the IRS, but I guess I could,' and you start to think, 'I should do this,'” Borcherding said.

Borcherding talked it over with his family and friends and found other people he knew received the same message.

Bickel provided the following tips to help you avoid becoming a victim to this or similar scams:

  • Deal locally with people you can meet in person - follow this one simple rule and you will avoid 99 percent of the scam attempts.
  • Use caution when wiring funds via western union, moneygram or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer.
  • Fake cashier checks & money orders are common and banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • Never give out personal or financial information (bank account numbers, social security numbers, eBay/PayPal info, etc.)
  • Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services and know that only a scammer will "guarantee" your transaction.

"Ultimately, the best way to avoid scams is to educate yourself about what to look out for and to be cautious in every situation. Please take a few extra minutes to talk to family members and friends about how to avoid being a victim," said Bickel.

To report a possible scam, you can call Carmel Police at 317-571-2580.

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