WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Police are cautioning the public to be on alert for a phone scam that is targeting local residents.
The Yonkers Police Department has received information that Yonkers residents have been getting phone calls from random numbers from scammers claiming to be the IRS or other government agency, demanding personal information or payment.
Police said that the scammers have gone so far as to threaten arrest if the information is not shared over the phone. The scammers are reportedly targeting elderly and vulnerable residents.
"An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country," police said. "Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling."
According to police, recent advances in telephone technology, including Internet calling, voice-over and IP spoofing, has led to an increase in the number of telephone-based frauds and scams. Scammers have recently been targeting the elderly and vulnerable members of the community.
In an effort to curtail scamming, the Yonkers Police Department has issued a series of tips and guidelines to help the community.
- The best protection is to just hang up the phone when called by someone you don’t know;
- Residents should be suspicious of unsolicited telephone calls. Police noted that “scammers will often try to engage you by purporting to be a government or law enforcement official, a family member in distress or experiencing an emergency, or a charitable organization. The scammer’s goal is often to get you to give up money via wire transfer or even cash payment, or to steal your identity and bank information;”
- Personal and financial details should never be given out over the phone;
- Don’t believe the caller ID. “Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real,” according to police. “If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up;”
- Talk to someone before giving up money or personal information;
- Hang up on robocalls. Robocalls can be reported by calling the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP.
Anyone who has or does receive a call they believe may be a scam have been asked to contact detectives in Yonkers by calling (914) 377-7900.
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