A Menlo Park resident lost $14,000 in a recent scam that has the IRS warning people nationwide, according to police.
Claiming to be IRS employees, the callers tell their intended victims that they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid card or wire transfer, or face arrest, deportation or loss of a license.
The legitimate IRS will not accept payments through those forms of currency, according to police. The pre-paid cards the scammers request are extremely difficult to trace, as payments made are usually transferred to other reloadable cards that can be bought at almost any store.
Victims may also be given fake contact information. In one incident reported to Menlo Park police, the victim unknowingly accessed a phony IRS website. The police advise double-checking any contacts, as the IRS does not use a local phone number. The agency also generally contacts people first by mail, not telephone, and won't ask for personal or financial details via email, text or social media.
If contacted by email, forward any suspect messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. Avoid opening any attachments or clicking on links.
Never give out any personal information, such as a Social Security number, date of birth, home address or passwords, to anyone over the phone.
Police ask that you call 330-6300 if you think you've been targeted by this scam.