LCSO flooded with calls of residents reporting IRS scam

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Hundreds of residents are reporting they’ve received calls from scammers pretending to be from the IRS, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday.

LCSO’s Fraud Line has received nearly 400 phone calls from residents within the last 36 hours. The sheriff’s office says it received about 7,000 calls in 2015 regarding the scam.

The calls continually plague residents all over Southwest Florida, but officials are sending out another warning as tax season begins.

Deputies say the scammers are using technology to make the calls look legitimate through caller ID. The scam artists utilize online sites to create fake phone numbers, and often, a phone number is used with the area code 202 for Washington D.C.

“We believe they’re using robo-calls, so they’re just programming numbers into the computer. They push the button and it just goes out to thousands of people. There’s not a whole lot you can do other than wait it out, and hope that they go away. Which they will, they’ll move on to another area,” said Beth Schell with the sheriff’s office, who also recommends you don’t call the number back.

The sheriff’s office reminds residents that the IRS will never:

• Call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first contacting you by mail.
• Demand you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
• Require you to use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card of wire transfer.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you’re a victim of the scam, contact the LCSO fraud line at 239-258-3292.

A spokesperson for the IRS told WINK News these scams are investigated by the Treasury Inspector General. They monitor and look into complaints of phone numbers that are calling with these scams. You can fill out a form online at or call 1-800-366-4484 to file a complaint with the federal bureau directly.



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