Platte Co. officials warns of scams regarding utilities, IRS

Platte City officials are warning residents about a couple of scams circulating in the area recently, involving utility companies and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Residents have received calls from someone claiming to be a debt collector who threatens people with termination of utility services, criminal prosecution and even deportation.

IRS scammers call to say the victim owes back taxes and must make immediate payment. They can sometimes spoof caller identification devices to make the call appear as if it comes from a legitimate source. Scammers claim they represent the federal government and instruct victims to put money on prepaid debit cards and provide the number of the card to the scammers over the phone.

Utility scammers demand immediate payment of bills or gas or electric service will be turned off. They, too, ask victims to put money on prepaid debit cards and provide the card information.

Authorities warn residents to be suspicious of any caller who demands immediate payments. Utility companies and government agencies will not contact people via the phone to demand immediate payment. Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers or emails. Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers, or personal identification numbers, to someone unknown. Do not provide MoneyPak card information to someone unknown.

The IRS will mail a bill for any taxes owed and will not call to demand payment through prepaid cards, gift cards or wire transfers. IRS officials do not threaten to call local police or other law enforcement for nonpayment of a bill. The opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed is always given. IRS officials will not seek money in any form or personal information over the phone.