The Lake Havasu City Police Department would like to make the public aware of a recent scam involving someone claiming to be an IRS employee and a false 911 call to police. A Lake Havasu City resident received a call from someone alleging to be from the IRS demanding a payment of money. The resident refused to pay, realized it was a scam, told the person to stop calling and hung up the phone.
Within a short period of time, the police department received a 911 call indicating a home invasion was taking place at the residence. The caller claimed to be the resident, advising police dispatch that multiple subjects had broken into her home. Officers arrived on scene and began trying to communicate with the resident, not knowing at that time the 911 call was false. Fortunately, in a relatively short amount of time, the officers were able to determine that a home invasion had not taken place.
During the investigation, it was discovered that the resident had recently received a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. While officers were on scene, the scammer called back. Officers were able to recognize the heavily accented voice as the same voice that had called in the phony home invasion report to 911. The caller hung up on the officer.
These situations can be very dangerous for the homeowner as well as police. These types of incidents have also been referred to as “Swatting”. A caller makes a false report of some type of emergencies such as a home invasion, active shooter or hostage situation taking place at a particular address, hoping to draw a large police or even a SWAT team response. In this instance, it appears the IRS scammer may have been upset that the resident refused to send money and wanted to get back at the resident.
Initially, these calls cannot be differentiated from real incidents and must be handled appropriately. If the police suddenly show up outside of your house for an unknown reason, comply with police orders to help diffuse the situation. The confusion can be cleared up quickly once everything calms down.
The police department encourages the community to report these types of fraudulent calls and be aware that scammers are constantly devising new schemes in an attempt to get money. Be careful with providing your address, phone number or any other personal information to anyone that calls you unsolicited. The IRS will never contact you by phone to ask for personal information.
Additional consumer tips of things you can do to avoid becoming a victim can be found at www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.
Anyone that has been a victim of this scam or any other can contact the Lake Havasu City Police Department at (928) 855-1171.