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Sheriff’s office receives increase in reports of phone scam calls

Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 20:50:59-04

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says it has received a large number of reports from across the county over the past few weeks regarding several different phone scams. 

Officials say the most active scam right now involves a caller posing as an IRS agent, telling the resident they owe the government money and demanding payment over the phone.

In another common scam, the caller impersonates a Homeland Security agent and demands you identify yourself with your Social Security number, birth date and home address to verify if you are legally in the country.

Sheriff’s officials say you should never give out your personal or financial information over the phone and if you receive a phone call from someone asking for money or identifying information, hang up immediately and call law enforcement.

The sheriff’s office adds that it does not call residents over the phone to notify them of a warrant nor does it take payments of any kind over the phone. The IRS also does not call to demand immediate payment using specific payment methods such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. 

To report phone scams, you can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or ftc.gov/complaint

For IRS phone scam complaints, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 or use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page at www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.