Alert: Law enforcement warns of phone scam

Finger at "SCAM ALERT" On Keyboard Button | Photo by tuan_azizi, Getty Images, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Utah Highway Patrol has received several reports of a telephone scam that threatens victims with arrest if they fail to pay an alleged tax debt or provide personal or financial information to the caller.

The Department of Public Safety’s State Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit is investigating a phone scam involving calls that are generated from 435-655-3445, which is one of the Utah Highway Patrol’s phone numbers, according to a statement released by the agency Friday.

How the scam works

The caller, a man impersonating an employee of the Utah Highway Patrol and who speaks with an accent, tells the victim they are under investigation by the  Internal Revenue Service. The caller then tells the victim to send money or provide information over the phone, and if they fail to comply with the caller’s request, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper will come to their home and arrest them.

“There have been multiple calls reporting this activity, and several of those calls have come in over the weekend,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jalaine Hawkes said, “so it’s still ongoing, and investigators are monitoring the activity and gathering information at this time.”

It initially was brought to the attention of police when several individuals called in to report the scam several days ago, and the calls have increased since then.

Officials caution that the Utah Highway Patrol would not make any phone calls asking for personal or financial information, adding that this type of information should never be released over the phone to anyone unless the caller is known.

To provide further information or to report this scam, call the Utah Highway Patrol dispatch center at 801-887-3800.

The FBI provides the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of telephone scams.

  • Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
  • Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact.
  • Trust your instincts: If an unknown caller makes you uncomfortable or says things that don’t sound right, hang up.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • knobe April 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Actually I’ve received Several of these types of calls over the last month of a very similar nature but from various phone numbers .
    People Should know by now that the IRS , police and other agencies only call if they are returning a call from you .
    These others from ‘legal offices’ are mostly from scammers in India with the skills to sound ” more American ” .
    They just arrested over a 1000 people at one call center in India but more pop up every day .

    Start Using those caller ID’s , Pay attention to Who it is & Only answer calls from people you know .
    Do NOT return calls to agencies you have not contacted 1st .

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