Police are warning residents to disregard phone calls and messages from the Internal Revenue Service demanding immediate payment on "money owed." It's all part of a phone scam that's targeting Berkshire County residents.
"This is a scam. The IRS will never call your home and demand you to call them," Sheffield Police Chief Eric R. Munson III said in a message posted by the department's official Facebook page on Wednesday. "You would receive written notice from the IRS on government stationery with government contact information."
The Pittsfield Police Department posted a similar message on its Facebook page on Wednesday. Both departments stated several residents reported receiving phone calls or messages from the IRS indicating the individual would be sued by the IRS for failing to pay taxes.
"Please be advised that these calls ARE NOT [sic] from the IRS and they are scam calls," the Pittsfield Police Department wrote on its Facebook page. "The IRS will typically make contact through the U.S. Postal Service and will not make calls threatening lawsuits, arrests or warrants."
According to information posted on IRS.gov, the telephone scam can vary with callers demanding payment or promising a refund, but with the end result being the same — gaining private information from the target.
"These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don't answer, they often leave an "urgent" callback request," the website states.
The website also identifies 5 items scammers often do, but the IRS will not do. The IRS will never:
1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Residents are urged to report suspicious phone calls and messages to their local police departments.