Lake Tahoe area law enforcement warns of tax scams | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lake Tahoe area law enforcement warns of tax scams

Be wary of current scams.
Getty Images/Wavebreak Media | Wavebreak Media

It’s tax season, which means it also is tax scam season.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents, particularly seniors, to be aware of the continuing efforts of scammers.

“With the tax deadline approaching, the IRS scam will soon re-appear where a scammer calls unsolicited impersonating an IRS officer,” Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Schemenauer said in a press release. “They demand you verify personal information and often attempt to collect a fine via prepaid credit cards or gift cards.”

The sheriff’s office wants everyone to know the IRS will never call demanding money or personal information via the telephone.

A recent scam involving the use of online gaming or gaming on your cell phone is known as the “Words with Friends scam” where the victim engages a stranger in the popular “Words with Friends game” online, according to the sheriff’s office. The scammer begins with “small talk” and over the course of weeks, and sometimes months later they gain the trust of the victim.

The scammer then reveals some personal tragedy requiring immediate money, usually claiming a child requires an emergency surgery and they are out of the country for work, unable to help.

“Never engage strangers on social media and never reveal personal information online or through your cell phone,” Schemenauer advised.

Most popular scams begin with unsolicited contact from a stranger. The scams all seem convincing at some level and they all request you send money through wire transfer, prepaid credit or gift cards and most recently through mailing cash.

The sheriff’s office recommends residents to never respond or send money to unverified sources.

For information on internet scams, visit the FBI Cyber Crime website at http://www.ic3.gov.