'Taxes overdue, we're arresting you': Arizona law enforcement warns of holiday scams

Although it's not tax time, scammers are still pretending to be the IRS and threatening to arrest people.

The holiday season is full of cheer, well-wishes and, unfortunately, scammers looking for their next victim.

The Yuma County Sheriff's Office issued a release Tuesday detailing a list of phone scams they say "continue to occur in Yuma County."

But they're scam we've heard about time and time again all across Arizona.

Grandparent scam

You get a phone call from someone posing as a grandchild who is supposedly out of town and in a desperate situation. They could claim to be locked in jail, have had a car accident or are in need of medical treatment. They'll want money wired to them.

Jury duty scam

This time the call is supposedly from someone at the courthouse who claims you failed to report for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for your arrest. You're then offered a choice to either pay for the warrant or have an officer sent over to arrest you. The fraudsters will typically demand that the money be paid by money transfer or by loading a prepaid card. They have been known to use actual names of local Officers and Judges in the scam to make it seem legitimate. Scammers have gone as far as using devices that allow them to display local law enforcement phone numbers on your caller ID’s.

Lottery scam

While the other scams prey on fear and concern, this one aims to convince you that you've won money in foreign lottery. Never mind that you can't recall every entering one. The call will come from someone who sounds official. They'll ask for a payment up-front for supposed taxes and fees so you can collect your winnings.

IRS scam

This scam is quite similar to the jury duty scam, but takes advantage of most Americans' inherent fear of the Internal Revenue Service. The phone call purports to be from the police or an IRS agent who is demanding payment for overdue taxes. If they're not settled immediately, the call claims, you'll be arrested. They'll want the money either wired or put on prepaid card.

Utility scam

This is another fear-based scam that involves convincing you that the utility company is about to cut off service due to unpaid bills. The scammers will naturally want money sent to them by money transfer or a prepaid card. All these scams ask for a green dot, Visa prepaid card, money gram or some other type of prepaid card that require you to load it with the amount of they are requesting (amount varies), after obtaining the card they give the subject the card number, subject then promptly cashes out the card. Never use a green dot or money gram to transfer money. Never trust checks for over the amount on any sales you are conducting.

Anyone who feels they've been the target of a scam should contact their local law enforcement and the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602-542-5763, in Tucson at 520-628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 800-352-8431.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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