Immigration Phone Scam
During the month of December some citizens reported receiving phone calls from individuals who claimed to be from a U.S. immigration agency. The scammers have requested that the person pay some sort of fine. When residents refused to speak with the callers, the callers threatened to have the police go to the victims' homes. Our dispatch center has reported two instances when the scammers have actually called the police number and have made up a false claim to create a police response to the home. The scammers have been able to manipulate the appearance of their source number so that it appeared that the calls were actually originating from a government agency. We are working to educate the public about this matter and to encourage residents to hang up immediately if they receive this type of call.
IRS Phone Scam
The Northampton Police Department has been getting calls lately of an IRS scam going around. Victims are told that they owe taxes and if not paid right away the local police department will be called and they are subject to arrest. Some victims report that the PD number actually shows up on their caller ID. The Northampton Police Department is NOT calling people threatening to arrest if they do not pay their taxes to us. Also, the IRS always notifies you of money owed via US Mail, not over the phone nor do they collect payment over the phone. If you believe you do owe money, you can contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
Health Care Law Scams
Over the next few months the Affordable Care Act will go into its final phase and citizens may seek information about health insurance knowing that there is a requirement that most Americans must maintain "minimum essential health insurance coverage." With that in mind, some scam artists are trying to take advantage of the situation by contacting individuals and trying to obtain personal information such as name, date of birth, and a social security number. Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau to protect yourself:
1. Government agencies normally communicate through mail, so be cautious if you receive an unsolicited phone call, text message, or email from someone claiming that they are going to sign you up for health insurance.
2. If you do get an unsolicited call regarding health insurance, hang up.
3. Don't trust what you see on your caller ID. Some scam artists can manipulate the screen to display any number or organization.
4. Never give out personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account or Social Security numbers, or your date of birth to unfamiliar callers.