Scammers changing tactics in fraudulent phone calls

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (March 30, 2016) – Phone scammers have changed tactics in their ongoing efforts to steal money from Hoosiers.

According to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, scammers are putting a “twist” on the jury duty and IRS phone scams. Perpetrators have started using the name of Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen as well as those of local judges and law enforcement officers to make the scam seem more realistic.

The callers also demonstrate knowledge of area businesses; in at least one case the caller told a potential victim to go to a specific store to buy prepaid credit cards or send a wire transfer.

The scam works like this: the caller claims to be from the IRS or court and tells the victim they’ll be thrown in jail for an outstanding tax debt or because they missed jury duty. The callers then say their targets can avoid jail by paying a fee.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said you should never send payment for a warrant by prepaid card or wire transfer. Body attachment warrants, tax warrants and other government transactions should only be handled by directly contacting the correct office or court.

If you receive one of these calls, hang up without holding a conversation with the caller. Police also warned Hoosiers not to rely on Caller ID to return the calls, as software can easily fake a telephone number.

To report a scam involving the IRS, visit this website. To report other telephone scams, contact your local law enforcement agency.

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