Ellsworth woman reports ‘tax debt’ phone scam

Posted May 01, 2012, at 4:41 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — According to police, at least one local woman has been targeted by a phone scam disguised as an offer to help people with their tax debts.

The woman, Shannon Christensen, told the Bangor Daily News that she received a call at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday. In the call a woman said in an automated message that a service was available for helping people with their tax debts. The message indicated that the Internal Revenue Service could aggressively pursue people who don’t take steps to correct such tax debt.

Christensen said she knew it was a scam because she doesn’t have any tax debt. She said she contacted the Ellsworth Police Department and the FBI to alert police to the scam.

“They sound very convincing,” the Ellsworth woman said of the suspected fraudulent call.

Ellsworth police Officer Amie Torrey said on Tuesday the department has not received any additional complaints about calls like the one Christensen received, but phone scams promising prizes or scaring people into divulging personal financial information are not uncommon.

Torrey said people who receive similar phone solicitations, either from an automated message or from another person on the line, should hang up and never give out personal information over the phone. Ellsworth residents who do get such calls can call the Ellsworth Police Department, she added.

More information about phone scams is available online from the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or at the FBI website, www.fbi.gov.

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