Contact: Sgt. Robert Dochler
Public Relations Unit Supervisor
On 07/29/14 the Columbia Police Department received reports of additional scam attempts involving alleged representatives of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Ameren Missouri. In both instances, the scammers imply that immediate payment is necessary and compliance will make the purported problem go away.
An alleged "IRS Chief Investigator" told a resident they had outstanding warrants for illegally sending money overseas. The resident was threatened with arrest if they did not handle the situation immediately by going to a bank and following instructions to send cash money. They were advised they could face a fine of $50,000.00 or 3-5 years in jail if they did not comply.
In some instances Ameren Missouri customers were advised their accounts were delinquent and subject to disconnection. The customers were asked to purchase a prepaid money card for payment of an account that was not delinquent.
A representative of Ameren Missouri advised that Ameren Missouri sends disconnect notices by mail on official letterhead. Ameren Missouri will never contact customers by phone to deliver a disconnect notice or request payment. Ameren Missouri representatives will never show up at your door requesting payment.
Here are some safety tips:
Never send cash or money orders or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons. If you call the number back that called you to verify the information and a recording picks up not stating the name of the company this is a scam. Make a phone call to verify the information. A thirty second phone call can save you money. Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?"Be skeptical - Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won't pressure you to make a snap decision. If someone comes to your home claiming to be with a utility company, ask for identification. Do not let the person in your home. If something doesn't seem right it's not right.
If you have information about, or want to report a fraud, report it to your local law enforcement agency.