Consumer Alert: Phone scam targets Bay Area residents

At least one victim has lost thousands

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - A new phone scam has surfaced in the Bay Area. 

It has local officials concerned that consumers will fall for the threat of arrest.

The scammers are using technology which allows calls to appear to be coming from legitimate law enforcement agencies.  

Here's what to look for:

The scam artists have threatened callers with arrest, saying it is related to the IRS and back taxes. 

Once they convince the consumer they are from an authentic agency, the callers target them for money. 

One Hillsborough County victim has already lost $5,600 to the crooks. 

Corporal Bruce Crumpler, HCSO Economic Crimes Unit, said the callers use scare tactics aimed at conning their targets out of hundreds.  In some cases, thousands of dollars.

"It's a growing problem, and we are getting calls on it," Crumpler said.  

The fact that the scammers are able to make their numbers appear to be from a genuine law enforcement agency causes some to fall for the scheme. 

A woman in Georgia gave the callers $1,500 after falsely verifying that the number came from a local law enforcement agency.

Similar cases have been reported in Kansas and Oregon.  

REMEMBER:

Law enforcement and the IRS never do this type of business over the phone.

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