WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville man who has received four calls in the past two days he believes are scams has a warning for other possible victims: don’t answer your phone from unknown numbers.
Norm Trengove said he received calls from likely scammers claiming to be IRS agents, warning him his social security number has been blocked due to unpaid taxes.
Trengove was describing a classic scam criminals use to obtain personal information.
In a typical scam, caller leave a call-back number, and when the victim calls the scammers warn of unpaid taxes, and threaten victims with arrest if they don’t immediately pay.
The payment method demanded by the scammers are normally gift cards, and callers will often demand the victim stay on the phone while they go to the store to purchase the cards.
According to the IRS, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.
But the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
The IRS does not call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method. IRS agents will also never threaten to bring in law enforcement officials for non-payment.
“I seriously hope people don’t fall into this,” Trengove said. “It can really cause some serious grief.”