Law enforcement officials are reminding local residents that there are crooks out there who are looking to steal their money over the phone.
The Johnson City Police Department is advising citizens to be on the lookout for a telephone scam involving a caller who pretends to be a representative of the department and is asking for money.
Officials say no one with the JCPD will call and ask for payment over the phone for any reason.
Police say never give out any personal information over the phone, especially financial information.
Residents can always call the police department at 434-6160 to verify that they are speaking with a Johnson City Police representative.
The National Crime Prevention Council is also warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for con artists posing as employees of the Internal Revenue Service.
These fake IRS officials are actually identity thieves looking to steal personal information.
Several versions of the scam have been seen in the area in recent years. Most of these cases involved callers identifying themselves as IRS employees and asking for bank account information.
Never give out your personal information over the phone or internet unless you have initiated the contact.
Government agencies and companies do not communicate about personal information via email, or ask for passwords, personal identification numbers or other private information about financial accounts unless you contact them.
According to the NCPC, the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department have reported an increase in scams this year involving fraudulent spammers who send emails that use the IRS logo in an effort to trick taxpayers into providing their Social Security number and other personal information.
Even though these emails look real — coming from such addresses as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com — they are not. Scammers use the victim’s financial and personal information to open lines of credit, apply for loans and file false tax returns.
For more information about identity theft and how you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim, visit the NCPC’s website at ncpc.org.
Area law enforcement officials are also alerting residents to beware of scammers calling people and telling them a family member or friend of theirs has been arrested and is being held in jail on bond.
This popular scam has the caller telling their victims the incident can be kept quiet and the family member will be released from jail if a bond payment is made by a credit, debit, electronic check or green dot money card.