Craig police: Beware of tax scams | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig police: Beware of tax scams

As tax refund season approaches, the Craig Police Department is warning residents to be on the alert for tax scams.

According to a departmental news release sent Friday, Feb. 8, a specific scam is already hitting the people of Craig.

“Over the last few days, citizens in our area have received phone calls from individuals identifying themselves as representatives from the Social Security Administration,” Friday’s news release said. “The callers state that the contacted person is wanted for Social Security fraud and that they need to provide personal information and payment to avoid arrest.”

The scam is similar to at least one other past scam and may be associated with the number 938-200-0554, according to the release.

In an interview Friday, CDP Capt. Bill Leonard said he has personally spoken with several residents who called him after being contacted by the alleged scammers.

“Once we get three or four people calling in, that tells me we’re getting some substantial calls in our area,” Leonard said.

Though Leonard said he isn’t aware of any Craig victims who have lost money to the scammers so far, that’s exactly what police want to avoid and are warning the public.

“We always seem to get someone, a victim, who falls for it,” Leonard said.

The following are some tips to avoid being scammed at tax time, according to Friday’s news release:

• Do not provide personal finance or other information, such as Social Security numbers by phone or email.

• Threats of arrest unless immediate payments are made over the phone are scams.

• Lock down social media sites so strangers cannot access information on relatives, friends, and location.

• Any unsolicited phone call, email, or mail requesting bank information to return funds is a scam.

• Any unsolicited checks attached to jobs you did not apply for are scams.

• Notice of foreign lottery winnings with checks enclosed or requests for funds to cover fees involved are scams.

• Those who believe they have been contacted with a scam are advised not to follow the instructions outlined by the caller, email, or mail and to contact local law enforcement. If it sounds suspicious, hang up and do not take any further action before contacting law enforcement.

The Colorado Department of Revenue’s taxation division also warns on its website that, if residents receive “a telephone call or email message saying state tax is owed and you are suspicious about the party who is making the contact, you may report it to our Criminal Tax Investigation Section. Similar scam alerts have been issued by the IRS. Please refer the IRS Warning Web page if the person contacting you states they are from the IRS.”

Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1796 or cthorp@CraigDailyPress.com.