Lodi police are warning of a scam using local phone numbers to scare residents into believing that they are being investigated for IRS fraud.
"It looks like the scammers are getting a little smarter," Lodi Chief Keith Keough said Friday.
One resident reported that he was told that Lodi police were investigating him because of an alleged discrepancy with the IRS. The call came from what appeared to be a local number.
While IRS scams are nothing new, Keough said, "There are still people who get upset and wonder if they'll get arrested."
He said that the scammers, usually calling from overseas, use a website or a smartphone app to get a local "spoof" number. When the number shows up on caller ID, the receiver can be led to thinking it is a legitimate local call.
Keough said he finds himself surprised when he learns of new details in reports of scam calls.
"It's scary. They're (criminals) are using numbers that look more legitimate," Keough said.
Often, seniors become victims of telephone scams, Keough noted.
"The older population tends to be lonely. Some people like those calls because they are talking with someone," he explained.
Keough said residents should never give personal information over the phone and to hang up if they suspect the call is not legitimate.
Keough suggested people adding their number to the Federal Trade Commission's National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov. He also suggested Googling the suspected scam number because others may have flagged it as such.
The numbers linked to local incidents are (330) 302-9149 and (330) 302-9144.
He said depending on the severity of the incident, his department forwards reports to the FBI or the Ohio Attorney General's office.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.