The Merced County District Attorney’s Office issued a warning this week about a recent telephone scam in Merced County that appears to target immigrant communities in particular.
Callers tell residents they owe money – typically $7,000 – in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and are threatened with deportation, jail time and having their driver’s license revoked unless they pay up immediately, District Attorney Larry D. Morse II said in a statement.
“These threats, especially of deportation, can be very effective against new immigrants who may not understand how the system works in their new country,” Morse said.
Potential victims are told the money must be paid promptly through a prepaid debit card or bank wire transfer of the funds. If the potential victim refuses to cooperate, the scammer will often become hostile and insulting.
“That’s when the threats of arrest, deportation, or other dire consequences begin,” Morse said in the statement. “It is important to understand that if the IRS needs to contact you regarding a tax issue, it will do so by U.S. mail, not by telephone.”
Morse advised anyone receiving a phone call or communication from someone claiming to be from the IRS to do the following:
Typical characteristics of this scheme include: