By COLlive reporter
The NYPD has warned about a new scam targeting NY city residents, including the elderly and immigrants.
The scam involves demanding payment for back taxes, or Con Ed or other utility bills which will be turned off if not paid immediately. Some reported they received calls from a caller pretending to be a police officer from the NYPD, saying that a family member or loved one has been arrested and needs bail money, or that a family member has been in an accident and needs money to gain their freedom.
When the scammers offer to have the potential victim called to confirm the request, the caller ID will display the local Police precinct’s phone number.
The payment is normally demanded in the form of green dot cards or Money Grams. The scammer may direct them to call another telephone number, which will be answered by another partner in the scam.
“A South East Asian 75 year old male in Queens was called by an unidentified male, who identified himself as an IRS Agent,” Inspector Brian Maguire of the 109th Precinct in Queens said in a statement.
“The caller demanded payment of $4,000.00 dollars for back taxes. Since the victim was skeptical, the male caller stated he would have the police call him back to verify this information. The complainant received a second call with the Caller ID displaying the 109th Precinct’s telephone number. The male identified himself as Inspector Brian Maguire!”
The caller stated that if the money was not paid, a warrant would be out for his arrest. Thankfully the complainant did not fall victim to this scam.
If you do receive a visit or a call such as this, the NYPD advises, do not call the number they provide for you to call, it is another part of the scam. The NYPD does not solicit money.
A recent warning from the IRS about this scam stated that usual IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.
The NYPD warning pointed out that computer Apps can be purchased which disguises a caller’s true phone number, and can be replaced with numbers of a local NYPD precinct, 911, Con Edison, or any number of their choice.
Scammers may tell you have won the lottery or some type of sweepstakes, and money is needed to claim winnings or for taxes on prize. If you have to pay for a prize you “won,” then you didn’t win.