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Hawkins sheriff urges public not to be fooled by IRS telephone scam

STAFF REPORT • Feb 28, 2019 at 4:15 PM

ROGERSVILLE — An old scam involving callers claiming to be the IRS collecting a debt under threat of immediate arrest is being reported again in Hawkins County, and Sheriff Ronnie Lawson is warning citizens not to be fooled.

Lawson said the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office has recently received multiple reports of the IRS scams.

“Scammers are telling citizens that they owe hundreds if not thousands of dollars in back pay to the IRS,” Lawson said. “Victims are told that if they don’t comply, officers of the sheriff’s office will show up and arrest them within a few minutes. People are being instructed to go to their bank, obtain cash and then go to a retail store and obtain a prepaid money card and then provide them the card information — or they will go to jail and be sentenced to years in jail and owe vast amounts of money to the federal government if they don’t act quickly.”

“Do not fall for this scam,” Lawson added. “The IRS will never call you and threaten you with being arrested by a local law enforcement agency if you do not immediately send them money. Always be vigilant. Scammers are constantly thinking of new ways to con money out of unsuspecting victims, and never forget the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

If you are the victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement agency or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at (202) 326-2222 or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

Normally these scammers are not even located inside the United States.

Lawson said, “My recommendation to the public is if you receive a telephone call from an out of state number or a number you don't recognize, simply don't answer it.”