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Scammers pretending to use Lakewood City Hall phone number for solicitations

Scammers pretending to use Lakewood City Hall phone number for solicitations

Several Lakewood residents have received phone calls today with the Lakewood City Hall number showing on their caller ID screen. When they answer the phone, the calls instead are from a solar energy company selling a fake product, or in some cases from a scammer posing as an IRS agent saying the resident owes federal taxes.

Lakewood city staff are working with the phone company to end the so-called “spoofing” of the City Hall phone number and to track down the scammers.

In the meantime, residents are advised to hang up on any callers pretending to be from Lakewood City Hall who turn out to be calling about something unrelated to city business. Or residents can ask to call the person back at City Hall.  City Hall’s number is 562-866-9771.  Usually scammers only use a spoofed number for a few hours and then move on to another number.

The following are things phone scammers often do but that the IRS will never do:

•Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

•Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.

•Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

•Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you believe you have been contacted by an IRS phone scammer, remember the following:

•Do not give out any information and hang up immediately.

•Contact the U.S. Treasury Department to report the call at 800-366-4484 or https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.