by Sarah Thomack/St. Joseph Post staff

Tax season often means it’s also scam season.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett says scammers, whether they claim to be with the IRS, a credit card company or law enforcement, use fear and intimidation to try to steal from people.

“Most people are very good people and they try to respect authority and they try to follow the rules and do all the things they’re supposed to be doing and so bad people, scammers, will use that against them,” Puett tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “These people are very polished, they have a script, they know exactly what to say and how to threaten.”

Puett says they’ve received several calls reporting a recent scam where calls were supposedly from the sheriff’s office. At least one person was victimized for $3,500.

Puett says places such as the sheriff’s office or IRS will never call and threaten you or demand money over the phone.

“We have a warrant program where we’ll call and say, ‘Hey you have a warrant for your arrest, you have a couple weeks to get it taken care of, if not, then the deputies will be out looking for you.’ We initiated that here awhile back,” Puett says. “But we don’t say, ‘Hey, you can pay your bond over the phone,’ that’s something you would have to do at the court, we don’t ask for any money.”

Puett says don’t answer calls if you don’t recognize the number, but if you do answer and someone is demanding money, remember to never give out personal information over the phone and to hang up and verify the information or call law enforcement. 

He adds that the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement departments will often post information to their social media warning residents of any recent phone or email scams. For more on tax scams, click here.