State warns against phone scams

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, April 09, 2018 5:53PM

Margaret Carlson of Hancock has received three phone calls from a mysterious number in the past week, each one with a similarly terrifying message.

In each case, the mystery caller told Carlson that police were on the way to her home, ready to arrest her in response to several cases that had been brought against her. Carlson hung up before the conversation went further, identifying it as a potential scam. 

“The first time scared me horribly,” said Carlson. “I didn’t engage, but I’m sure some do. These calls are certainly shocking.”

IRS scam calls throughout the state are once again on the rise, to the point that NH Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald issued a warning to all New Hampshire residents last week. 

MacDonald noted that the Attorney General’s Office had received over 90 complaints in the days leading up to the release, many directed to senior citizens. 

“Residents report receiving unsolicited calls fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS and demanding payment for delinquent taxes,” read the release. “The callers typically ask for some sort of immediate payment and threaten arrest, wage garnishment or other forms of legal process to coerce the payment.”

First contact with a delinquent taxpayer is almost always in the form of a letter sent through the mail. The IRS additionally does not email taxpayers requesting personal or financial information, and never asks for credit, debit, or prepaid card information over the phone. 

In the event of a potential scam call, MacDonald is advising people to hang up immediately and to not engage the caller in any manner. Never provide personal information over the phone, in an email, or on the internet unless you are able to verify the party requesting said information. 

The release also discusses a second prevalent IRS-related scam – tax-related identity theft, which occurs when a perpetrator uses a stolen social security number to file a tax return for a fraudulent refund. The victim is often unaware of such fraud until they file their return to discover another one has already been filed. 

If you become a victim of tax-related identity theft, file a report with the local police, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-438-4338, complete the IRS Form 14039, and contact a major credit bureau to freeze your credit. 

New Hampshire consumers can also call 1-888-468-4454 or file a formal complaint at doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.