lagrangenews.com

‘Phony’ Treasury agents try to scam area residents

By Tyler H. Jones tjones@civitasmedia.com

August 21, 2014

LaGrange Police are warning area residents of a telephone scam in which a caller claims to be an agent of the U.S. Treasury Department and asks for personal information and even money.


A local woman contacted police Wednesday after the scammers called her and told her she owed backed taxes. The woman told the caller she was going to contact her attorney and the voice on the other end told her “your attorney can’t help you,” and hung up, according to police reports.


The Daily News called the telephone number listed in the police report, and a voice answered “U.S. Treasury Department, this is Irene, may I have your Social Security number?” We asked where their office was located, but they would not say. We did not give them any personal information. Once we identified ourselves as a newspaper, the line disconnected.


Chris Pritchett, a detective with LaGrange Police, said scams like this are more common than some people might think.


“A lot of these scammers will set up in abandoned warehouses and things like that,” he said. “They’ll set up actual call centers and run the scam for a few days and then move on.”


Pritchett explained that impersonating a Treasury agent or other official is a federal offense, and local police have forwarded information on this scam to the U.S. Secret Service.


He also urges people to go with their instincts regarding scams.


“It’s important not to be gullible,” he said. “If it sounds phony, go with your gut and just hang up.”


The detective also said that the U.S. Treasury, Internal Revenue Service or other federal agencies will never contact citizens regarding important matters.


“They don’t make phone calls,” he said. “They make house calls. Especially if it’s important.”


The police remind area residents to never give out personal information over the phone, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, banking information or other sensitive data.


If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, contact LaGrange Police at (706) 883-2603 or file a report at their office on Haralson Street.