Haines police warn not to be fooled by an IRS phone scam. (Jillian Rogers)

Haines police warn not to be fooled by an IRS phone scam. (Jillian Rogers)

A telephone scam has been targeting Alaskans who are flush with cash after receiving the Permanent Fund Dividend earlier this month. Interim Police Chief Robert Griffiths confirmed that there have been several cases in Haines and locals should be aware.

We’ve all heard the old saying ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ but in Haines recently, you might want to go by ‘if it sounds too bad to be true, hang up and call the police.’

A phone scam that tells those who pick up that they owe the Internal Revenue Service money and must pay immediately or face legal action, has affected many in Alaska and several in Haines. The most recent reported incident happened over the weekend, according to the Haines Police.

Griffiths says the caller, who claims they are from the IRS, demands money and threatens prosecution if they don’t comply.

“Bottom line, that they owe money to the IRS and they’re going to be turned over to collections and or prosecuted and that they need to immediately call the person back or send funds into the IRS and of course they provide all the information to do that, for your convenience, of course,” the chief says. “It’s all a scam. The IRS does not do that.”

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, the Better Business Bureau and the Anchorage Police Department received several complaints last week regarding callers posing as federal agents.

Griffiths says the IRS mails a package to people who owe money and would never accept credit cards over the phone.

“So, if you get a phone call from the IRS, it’s bogus.”

So far, there have been four reported calls in Haines. Griffiths says if you receive a call from someone posing as an IRS agent, hang up and report it to the police. The department wants to keep track of how many calls locals are getting, but, he says, there is not much they can do about it. Many of the calls are coming from outside the country.

“In all honesty, we tell folks, just ignore it. If they continue to harass you, let us know but otherwise, it is a bogus, fraud attempt and don’t even pay it any attention.”

If you receive multiple calls and it becomes harassment, Griffiths says that would be a situation where they would initiate an investigation. For more information or to report a call the HPD at 766-2121.