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Central Indiana police agencies warn of IRS scam phone calls

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PLAINFIELD, Ind. - Several police agencies across central Indiana are alerting residents about IRS scam phone calls after receiving complaints, and in some cases, receiving the calls themselves.

One voicemail recording threatens local police will take someone into custody if they don't return the call within 24 hours.

"I honestly I kind of laughed because I've seen and heard about the scam before," Plainfield resident Jason Cummings said.

He said he's received two calls over the past two weeks. Someone claimed to be an IRS representative and demanded payment through PayPal.

"It threw up a red flag immediately and I also know IRS generally doesn't send phone calls," Cummings said.

He's far from the only person to get a scam call like it this week.

"It's an unbelievable volume of calls of people getting these phone scams in regards to they owe the IRS, they are getting threatened that the local  police department has a warrant for them and other different type of phone scams," Plainfield Police Capt. Jill Lees said.

Lees said she even received a call herself. Her department is giving residents a heads up about the scams, alongside Fishers police and Zionsville police.

Greenfield police said they received a report of an IRS scam call in which someone lost several thousand dollars.

"It's absolutely frustrating because it's awful to think that there are people who scam their fellow man," Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said. "The people who are most vulnerable to these things are seniors."

The Indiana Attorney General's office reports in 2017, it received 1,406 complaints from people on the do not call list about IRS scam phone calls. They have received 341 so far this year.

It also reports last year, there were 90 consumer complaints filed and 2,291 hotline calls about IRS scam phone calls. So far this year, there are 44 consumer complaints filed and 1,273 hotline calls about IRS scam phone calls.

"Most of what we're trying to do is inform the public of how to not be victimized, how to avoid being scammed," Hill said. "That's because the difficulty of tracking and tracing where these calls are coming from. That's a practical reality of the technology that's involved."

Hill said the scammers want to know who's picking up the call, and that that information could be passed on to other scammers. His best advice is to not pick up if you don't recognize a number.

"If you don't answer the phone you're gonna reduce your chances of being targeted as a victim of a scam immensely," Hill said.

The IRS has previously warned about scams. They say summertime is a favorite period for scammers.

They do not call and leave pre-recorded messages asking for a call back, call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method ,such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.

They also do not threaten to immediately bring in law enforcement groups to have a taxpayer arrested for not paying or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

The IRS will generally first mail a bill to a taxpayer who owes taxes.

Hill encourages people to contact, the local police or his office.

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