ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County Sheriff's Office is warning about scam artists hard at work targeting South Georgians. Dozens of victims have reported being ripped off in the last week.
Sheriff's Investigators say these scammers are using phones and the internet to target college-age victims and the elderly, especially widows.
Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigators say in the last week they heard from two dozen scam victims who lost money, and they know there are many more victims.
"Because if two dozen people have called us, that means there are a whole lot more out there that haven't called. Might be getting fleeced right now," said Sheriff's Captain Craig Dodd.
Many of the victims say they got phone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS, claiming they owe five to nine thousand dollars unpaid taxes, and they are going to jail.
"That they are going to send the Sheriff's Office to arrest them if they don't give them the money on a Visa Card, Master Card, or direct pay from their bank account," Dodd said.
Some victims got scammed by callers offering federal grants to people. And others got hooked by mystery shopper scam jobs on the Internet sending you checks that bounce.
"You buy this $200 worth but we send you $1,800, and they want you to send back about $1,200 and keep the rest as your pay."
The IRS does not call you and those mystery shopper offers are usually too good to be true. And Investigators warn the crooks can be convincing. "What we are trying to encourage people to do is hang up. Don't talk to them," said Dodd.
Investigators say if someone on the phone convinces you that you have a problem with the IRS, don't call back at the number they give you. Call the number for the IRS that's in the phone book so you can get answers from someone legitimate.