Richland County District Attorney Jennifer Harper advises that there have been inquiries from local residents who have recently received suspicious telephone calls and e-mails.
She provides the following information.
“Examples include a phone message indicating ‘You are being sued by the IRS. Please call…’ or ‘There is a problem with your account at the credit union, please call or go to XYZ website.’ Or, via e-mail, ‘You will be arrested if you do not respond to this e-mail within four hours.’
“If you receive such a message or e-mail, delete it. It is a scam.
“If you receive a suspicious call from a live person who is giving you the same type of line, hang up on them. It is not rude to protect the integrity of your information.
Scammers are very good at making phone calls, e-mail addresses and websites seem legitimate.
“The calls are a scam regardless of how real they sound and those who receive such calls should beware. Legitimate institutions such as the IRS or financial institutions do not ask for personal information by phone or e-mail. Legitimate entities notify persons by letter. You can also note where the call is coming from if you have caller ID. Suspicious phone calls from out of the area or marked ‘private’ are scams.
“I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to recognize these scams for what they are and not fall victim to them. The bottom line: Do not go to websites, respond to e-mails or return phone calls unless you are very familiar with the institution. Never give out any personal or account information via e-mail or by phone.
“I ask that people share this information with their family and friends.”