Big Bear, CA, September 4, 2015 – Yesterday, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station received a report from a local resident who conveyed they had been contacted via telephone by a subject claiming to be a representative from the IRS. They were able to provide personally identifying information about the resident to initially make them believe the call was legitimate. The representative stated that tax payments were past due and needed to be paid immediately. They went on to outline a repayment plan using cash cards. At that point, the resident hung up.
Within a few minutes, the resident received another call from a subject claiming to be from the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station, telling the resident that deputies were on their way to arrest them for non-payment of back taxes. The Caller Identification indicated the call was coming from the general number of the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station. The resident again hung up on the caller and immediately notified the actual Big Bear Sheriff’s Station.
Citizens need to be aware that if they receive this type of call, IT IS A SCAM! The IRS does not take payment of back taxes by way of cash cards. Do not rely solely on Caller Identification to determine the legitimacy of someone attempting to collect a debt.
Caller Identification service is susceptible to fraud. Using a practice known as “Caller ID spoofing,” callers can deliberately falsify a telephone number and/or name relayed as the Caller ID information to disguise the true identity of the calling party. The Federal Communications Commission prohibits any person or entity from transmitting misleading or inaccurate Caller Identification information with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. Violators are subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 for each violation of the FCC’s rules.
The Intelligence Division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate this matter to determine the origin of this telephone scam.