Police chief issues phone scam warning
Spruce Pine Police Chief Bill Summerlin says he has been getting reports about an increase in phone scams.
“The calls claim to be from the IRS, and the person tells people they owe money,” Summerlin said. “The calls tend to be geared toward older people, and it must be lucrative because they have been trying this same scam on and off for a while. Scams like this one are surprisingly successful.”
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, announced in January 2017 reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and more than 5,000 victims who have collectively paid more than $26.5 million as a result of the scam.
A bulk of the calls come from phone numbers in California and Washington, D.C., and a majority of the time the person has a non-English accent. There are many variations of the scam. The caller may threaten arrest or court action in an attempt to trick someone into making a payment.
“I can’t tell people enough that the IRS does not call people who owe money,” Summerlin said. “If you owe the IRS money, they will show up at your house ready to change the locks. They absolutely do not call.”
Summerlin urges anyone who receives a call they feel is a scam to call Mitchell County Communications at 828-688-9974 and ask to have him dispatched. He recommends not giving out any information and hanging up.