By now, everyone is familiar with the phone scam that attempts to delude victims into thinking that they owe delinquent taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. Point Pleasant Police have issued an unnerving description of the typical exchange.

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Scammers, as always, are using the Internet to glean potential victims. Calls often erupt sporadically within geographical areas, and no town or neighborhood is exempt.

Callers, described by some as speaking in broken English or an Indian accent, immediately take control of the conversation, citing charges and threatening arrest and legal action, and turning increasingly aggressive when any questions are asked in response, authorities said.

The caller ratchets up the intimidation by threatening to seize the victim's property, freeze bank accounts, and have the call recipient tossed in jail on charges such as defrauding the government, back taxes owed, nonpayment, and pending lawsuits, police said.

The caller embellishes the urgency by citing costs in the thousands to resolve the matter, advising that moneypak card purchases within an hour can help the victim avoid arrest, authorities said.

Some callers give detailed instructions regarding where to buy the cards, and how much value each should have. Call recipients are warned to tell no one about the matter, and to stay on the line until the cards are bought and codes are given, police said.

The call recipient is threatened with arrest if the connection is severed at any time. Some victims reported being advised that their transactions took too long, and that more money would be required., police said.

Added to the pressure is the likelihood that the number on your caller ID isn't the source point of the call, masked through digital spoofing programs.

Given that many calls originate in other countries by people not fully acquainted with US laws or government procedures, police advise paying close attention to the information and to report "red flags" to headquarters.

One report is of a caller claiming to represent the "IRS Department," who disconnected when the call recipient pointed out the correct identity as "Internal Revenue Service" or "IRS."

Point Pleasant police offer advice to anyone who is contacted in this way:

  • Resist the urge to act quickly in response to poressure.
  • Give no personal information to anyone with whom you are not familiar.
  • Ask if you can call back and get a return number.
  • File a report with local police.
  • Report the incident on line to the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax AdministrationEnter the red portal marked "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting."
  • File a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. It constantly updates information about scams in progress.
  • Be wary of specific payment instructions. The IRS doesn't require wire transfers, moneypak cards, or similar methods.

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