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Rexburg police warn people over recent scam increase

The city of Rexburg has been hit with some serious phone scams in the past few weeks.

“I believe, (it’s because) of the time of the year, we’re getting into tax season and people are starting to think about that,” said Detective David Stubbs of the Rexburg Police Department. “It is a good opportunity these scammers think to exploit that.”

On Wednesday, Rexburg police said they received several reports of fraud over the phone.

There were calls of someone having unpaid taxes and the IRS was issuing a warrant for their arrest. Others included a warrant for arrest if the victim did not send the caller thousands of dollars in a gift card.

“They’re using fear tactics,” Stubbs said. “They’re using names of the police department in their area to make it seem more valid that we’re going to go out and pick them up.”

Police said that college-aged people and the elderly are the most targeted.

According to the Better Business Bureau, older people are becoming the fastest demographic being victimized by fraud.

Young adults are easily targeted because scammers believe they may be new at filing taxes.

“They haven’t paid taxes every year,” Stubbs said. “They maybe have been under their parents rule on that for a while and now they’re in the real world, if you will, and aren’t sure how it all works.”

The Rexburg Police Department said about 50 percent of reports they’ve received have had people give out money to the scammers.

One person reported giving $7,700 to an IRS fraud.

“A lot of these people are draining their bank accounts to give these people money,” Stubbs said.

The woman paid by using her checking account and two maxed out credit cards.

Police said once you give out money it’s nearly impossible to get it back because the phone numbers are untraceable or the scammers are out of the country.

If someone does call you demanding money, the first thing to do is stop, think and check to see if it is true.

One person almost gave $2,000 to a fraudster, but checked with the Rexburg Police Department first.

Stubbs said that no government agency will ever call and demand immediate payment over the phone, neither will they ever ask for payment with gift cards.

“The IRS does not work that way, the local police department do not work that way,” said Stubbs.

The Rexburg Police Department said it receives about five to 10 calls a week reporting scams.

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