San Manuel residents alerted to phone scam

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San Manuel resident Liz Starrett was nearly the victim of a phone scam and hopes to alert others about getting coerced into giving personal finance information.

Starrett received a phone call from a man who claimed he was an administrator for the Social Security Administration. The man had her name, address, phone number, and name of the bank where she does business, and he told her he wanted to verify her bank account number to make sure her next check arrived on time.

The man attempted to pressure her into giving her bank account number to him. When Starrett told him her check was arriving regularly with no problems and that she would not give him her account number, he hung up.

Starrett has caller ID and the number was from a Texas area code. She wanted to make sure that people in the community are warned about this unlawful scam.

A similar scam appeared in Yavapai County in 2011 when two men called an elderly lady and identified themselves as Social Security employees.

The men provided the woman’s date of birth as well as name, address, phone number, and the name of her bank in the attempt to make themselves look legitimate. They also provided a toll free number to call if she had any questions.

The woman gave them her bank account number. However, she called the toll-free number after hanging up and when she discovered the number was not in service, she immediately called her bank and told them to freeze her account.

Tax season is upon us and the Internal Revenue Service is warning tax payers about some of the different scams that are tried every year by criminals.

One of the most common phone scams is for someone to call pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service. They will tell the unsuspecting victim that an error was made by their tax preparer and they have more of a refund coming back to them.

They then tell the person that they need to verify the person’s social security number and/or bank account number to send them their check.

This scam is also attempted by email, as the scammers will send an official looking email claiming they are from the IRS or one of their components such as the Office of Professional Responsibility or EFTPS.

The scammers will request personal information from you, but the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email requesting personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS and requesting personal or financial information, the IRS advises the public to not reply nor to open and links or attachments.

Suspicious emails should be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov and then immediately deleted.

Unfortunately, senior citizens are targeted by scammers as easy prey. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has made it a priority to protect senior citizens from consumer fraud, exploitation and identity theft.

The office provides information about fraud and scams, takes legal against predators that prey on seniors and supports legislation to toughen penalties on those who commit crimes against seniors.

To avoid being scammed by telemarketers, the Attorney General’s office recommends that you keep your financial information to yourself. Never give out credit card, checking or savings account information to anyone who calls.

If you believe you are the victim or attempted victim of a scam, contact your local Sheriff’s Department or the Arizona Attorney General’s Office at 800-352-8431. A complaint can be filed at the office website, AZAG.gov.

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