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After Several IRS Phone Scam Complaints, LCSO Urges Leon Residents To Be Careful

A woman on her phone
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A recurring scam has made its way back to Leon County.

Leon County Sheriff’s office spokesman Deputy Dave Teems says his agency has gotten several complaints about IRS scammers.

“People call in,” he said. “They tell you that they’re with the IRS. They tell you that you owe money. They’re going to come and arrest you, if you don’t pay them. When you ask them about payment options, it’s usually something to deal with gift cards or prepaid visa cards.”

Essentially, Teems says he wants area residents to remember one big tidbit.

“The biggest thing that I would say is legitimate government agencies are not going to ask you for gift cards,” he added. “Especially with the IRS, they’re only going communicate any kind of debt you may owe through the U.S. Postal Service. Anytime, you get these phone calls, just understand it’s going to be a scam.”

So, Teems urges would-be victims not to pay the money and call the IRS directly, if they have any doubts.

“Typically, we're seeing that older residents are a little bit more vulnerable,” he continued. “They [scammers] use scare tactics of people going to jail, and then, they won’t even threaten you sometimes, they’ll say, ‘we’re going to put your family members in jail.’ So, a lot of times, because they don’t understand how that works and what’s going on, they’re usually a little more susceptible to falling for these schemes.”

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.