Police warning of local IRS phone scam spree

Police are investigating a phone scam incident in which an elderly Columbus resident lost a significant amount of money.

The resident was called and, believing the caller was a family member, agreed to purchase two prepaid debit cards and load them with a large amount of money.

The resident was then instructed to call back someone who was allegedly an attorney and give the individual access numbers to the cards.

The Columbus Police Department warns this is a scam, and legitimate attorneys do not operate in this fashion, said Sgt. Matt Harris, police spokesman.

Harris asked residents to call the police if you receive such a call asking you to wire money or use prepaid debit cards to pay money to an unknown individual.

This is just one of many similar types of phone scams going around, Harris said.

Tuesday afternoon, the police department received five reports of someone saying they were from the Internal Revenue Service and were demanding payment of back taxes by phone.

This, too, is a scam, Harris said. The IRS doesn’t threaten people on the phone or ask for payment by phone, he said. These calls also should be reported to the police department, he said.

Where to call

If you are contacted by a person claiming to be a family member or someone else needing financial help, have the Columbus Police Department check it. Call the police at 376-2600 to report the incident or other phone scams.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.