The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a rise in scam phone calls involving two ploys: that they owe money to the IRS, and that they could face arrest in Texas.
In the first scam, the scammers are posing as IRS employees and telling potential victims that they owe money for fake tax bills.
In the second gambit, scammers are claiming that they represent a Texas government agency and that the potential victim's name was used to rent a car used in a crime involving a gun. Thus, there is a warrant for their arrest in that state.
Both schemes conclude with the scammers telling their targets to purchase pre-paid debit, credit or gift cards, then read them those numbers over the phone to as payment to clear up the matter.
The Sheriff's Office has seen a rise in reports of these two scams this week. Detectives remind everyone that no government agency would try to satisfy a debt or bill using gift cards. Nor should anyone give out their personal or financial information over the phone.
Anyone who believes they have been targeted or victimized by such scams is asked to call the agency at (727) 582-6200.