Phone scam appears as law enforcement, IRS on caller ID

(Photo: WKRN)

The Murfreesboro Police Department and FBI are both warning people of a phone scam affecting residents.

On Monday, two reports of a similar scam were reported within 30 minutes of each other in Murfreesboro.

In both cases, residents were called by someone claiming to be from the IRS and demanding money.

After one resident hung up on the caller, he received a phone call from an unknown male identifying himself as the “chief of police.”

The caller ID displayed the phone number 615-849-2670, which belongs to the Murfreesboro Police Department information desk.

“Let’s make this clear, the Chief of Police does not call anybody to get any kind of money or debt, period,” said Major Clyde Adkinson with the department.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also warning people about the scam involving the IRS.

So far, they’ve taken money from thousands of people.

“The way the technology is set up, anyone can go out and get a telephone number online,” said Scott Augenbaum, an FBI special agent in cyber threats and security.

He said people can not only get numbers online, but also spoof them, meaning they can change the name on the number.

“So anyone can set up a telephone number that looks like it’s coming from a government agency, maybe a bank, maybe your utility company,” Augenbaum explained.

The scammers fool their victims into thinking it’s a legitimate call.

Unfortunately, there are dozens of Web sites that will make spoof calls with a few taps of the keyboard.

So what should you do when you think the IRS is calling?

“A lot of these companies, by policy, will not call you on the telephone, and it’s very important for the customer to realize that,” Augenbaum explained. “So if you get these telephone calls, really hang up. They’re not going to call you.”

He added that those who think they’re being scammed should call the local number for the government agency and ask them if there’s a problem.

“And there won’t be,” Augenbaum stated.

News 2 also learned the majority of the scam phone calls are coming from overseas, primarily from Russia and China.

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