safety elder handsWhen you go grocery shopping, do you like to place your purse in the shopping cart? According to the Torrance Police Department, there have been reports of people stealing purses and wallets from unaware shoppers who leave their belongings in the child seat of the cart. The suspects pose as shoppers and follow women until the opportune time to snatch the purse, even holding up a bag or object to block the view of the victim from seeing them stealing from the cart. In other incidents, the suspects would work in pairs to have one person distract the victim while the other steals. Remember to be wary of your surroundings and keep your purses over your shoulders, zipped, and secured.

There have also been instances of theft at gas stations. When pumping gas, be sure to lock your doors, close windows especially on the side of the car that is away from the pump. Suspects have been known to drive by and quickly snatch purses and valuables out of cars while victims are on the other side pumping gas.

False IRS officials have been phone scamming citizens according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Thousands from every state in the country have fallen victim to this scam and together have paid over $1 million. Scammers pose as IRS officials, claiming that the individual owes taxes and have to pay via pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. When the victims refuse to pay, they then threaten to arrest, deportation, or confiscation of a business or driver’s license. 

Please note that the IRS contacts first by mail and not by phone when it comes to unpaid taxes. Officials do not ask for payment through pre-paid debit card, wire transfer, or ask for credit card numbers over phone. Any “IRS official” who uses threatening language is a sign of a scam call.

Here are some more facts and tips from TIGTA:

“The callers who commit this fraud often:

• Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
• Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number.
• Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
• Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
• Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

• If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
• If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, texting, or any social media.”