IRS phone scam plagues Columbia residents

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is warning city residents of a phone scam asking victims to give out personal and financial information.

The department received multiple phone calls last week about a caller who impersonates an employee with the IRS and tells the person who answered the phone they owe back taxes. The caller then tells the victim to "settle the back taxes."

According to the department, calls are being received from at least one phone number identified as (951) 275-2951. The department said government agencies do not call citizens asking for payment with debit, credit or green dot cards.

Here are some tips for avoiding getting scammed:

  • Never give out personal information such as credit card number, bank account numbers, date of birth or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies you have never heard of.
  • If you call back the number that called you and a recording picks up not stating the name of the company, then it is a scam.
  • Don't respond to emails asking for banking or credit card account numbers or passwords. Your bank or credit card company will never ask you this information.
  • Make sure you have anti-virus software on your computer and keep it up to date. 

Tax day is on April 18 this year.