Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning of a sophisticated phone scam targeting Cook County residents.
In this scam, an automated voice claims there is a warrant out for the arrest of the receiver of the call and that they must call a phone number with a Chicago area code to resolve it. Upon calling the number, a person claiming to be an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent states that the caller must make payment or the warrant will be passed on to law enforcement authorities. The fake agent may give a bogus badge number and be able to recite the last four digits of the caller’s social security number.
This is a known scam that becomes particularly pervasive around tax time. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers without sending prior notification via mail. Additionally, the IRS does not work with local law enforcement authorities in this manner.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the origin of the calls.
Sheriff Dart offers the following tips to avoid becoming a phone scam victim:
- If you believe the call is suspicious, hang up.
- Never give personal information, such as social security or bank account numbers, over the phone.
- Legitimate IRS agents and law enforcement agencies do not ask that payments be made via pre-paid debit cards.
- In some cases, the phone numbers may appear to be from legitimate agencies due to phone number spoofing applications. If this is the case, call that agency to determine if there is a legitimate reason to contact you. Do not use the phone number the caller gives you.
Sheriff Dart asks anyone who believes they are a victim of this scam to call Sheriff’s Police at 708-865-4896.