One current scam making the rounds involves individuals calling people up claiming to be IRS agents. These callers claim the victim owes an amount of back taxes and it needs to be paid “immediately” (usually by going to purchase a prepaid money card and giving them the pin number or by wiring money to a given address). The caller claims that failure to pay up immediately will result in either being sued or arrested within the hour. Some callers even threaten to have the victims’ children taken from them until payment is made.
The tactics used by these scammers is very threatening, intimidating and rude. When the victim refuses to cooperate, the intensity of the pressure escalates and becomes even more threatening. In some cases, the victims received numerous calls with increased pressure from someone claiming to be from law enforcement. The callers are extremely persistent, especially if they perceive that they have been able to create some doubt for the victim that they do possibly owe this sum of money to the IRS.
It is important to know that the IRS will NEVER use these tactics to get payment from you for taxes you may owe. If there is ever a problem with your tax return, you will first receive an official letter from the IRS. Normally, this letter is either certified or registered, and is delivered by the US Postal Service. This letter explains what the problem is, how much you supposedly owe, and your rights to appeal this decision and the process to do that. Remember, you have rights and that does not include “pay immediately or go to jail.”
If you receive one of these phone calls the best thing to do is simple hang up on them. If you have caller ID be sure to write down the number that shows up for this call. Then report the call to the Better Business Bureau at 509-455-4200 or online at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/eastern-washington . You can also view all of the recent scams that have been reported in our area at this site. Another place to report these phone calls it to the IRS phone scam line at 1-800-366-4484. The more reports and information gathered by these organizations hopefully leads them one step closer to identifying the suspects who are committing these aggravating scam calls.
We all want to live in communities and neighborhoods that are safe. Communities that are connected and watch out for each other are the greatest resource to fight crime, and protect each other from harm and property damage. Everyone can be a community watchdog by simply watching your neighborhood for things that seem out of place, keeping an eye out for signs of abuse or other unsafe behavior, and reporting anything that seems suspicious. We've compiled a list of resources to show you what you what to watch for and what resources are available to protect your neighborhood.
Elder abuse: It is everyone's job to protect our most vulnerable, including our elderly. Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) has a number of resources to help elders in our community. Click Here to get information on reporting abuse to Adult Protective Services as well as resources for housing, long term care and more.
Child abuse: We should also watch and protect children in our community. DSHS also handles allegations of child abuse. Click here to get all the information on where to report suspicions of child abuse and get other resources. Remember, DSHS will investigate to see if actual abuse has taken place, so you should report any suspicions and let DSHS make the determination.
Graffiti: The City of Spokane offers an online tool to report graffiti that has worked in reducing incidents. Click here to find out more and get a link to their tool.
Child in a hot car: There are far too many stories of children dying or being seriously injured being left in a hot car, Click Here to get information on what you can do, and what protections you have for being a "Good Samaritan"
Report unsafe driver: If you suspect someone can no longer operate a car safely you can file a report with the Department of Licensing. Click Here for information on unsafe drivers and how to file a report.
Drunk driver: If you see a car or other vehicle that you suspect may have a drunk driver, don't engage them directly, Click Here to get information on what you can do to keep your streets safe.
Abandoned Vehicles: Vehicles left on our streets can be really annoying, but they can also be indications of crimes or other dangerous activity. Click Here to get information on what to look for with an abandoned car and where you can report it to resolve the issue.
Potholes: Potholes make your neighborhood streets an eyesore, but can also do damage to you and your neighbors' vehicles. Click Here to find out how you can report potholes and make your streets more accessible and safer.
Crime Tipline: Think you've seen a crime? Have information that could help police? No matter how hard they work police can't be everywhere, if you hear information or see evidence of a crime you can help police solve crimes and make the city, and your neighborhood safer. Click Here to find out how.
Property Drop Off: Having your stolen is really frustrating and awful. Help out your neighbors and police by returning property that you think might be stolen and letting police and other volunteers work to return the property. Click Here for information on where you can return items.
Join a Neighborhood Observation Patrol (NOP): If you really want to neighborhood safer why not be trained by Spokane Police on how to do it? Joining a NOP you'll know the best ways to work with police to reduce crime and keep yourself and your neighbors safe. Click Here to find out how to join a NOP.
Code Enforcement Program: Crime isn't the only thing that can affect our neighborhoods negatively. Graffiti, overgrown weeds, excessive trash and other issues can be real problems for our neighborhoods. Click Here to find out what a violation is, and how you can report it to improve your neighborhood and make life a little bit better for you and your neighbors.
Better communities begin with all of us doing our part. Armed with these resources you can be a community watchdog and help your neighborhood work together and be a safer and better place to live. Stronger neighborhoods make a safer, stronger city.
C.O.P.S. is here with Safe Streets! Safe Streets is a step-by-step approach,
channeling all your frustrations into a plan of action utilizing civil courts.
Since nuisance houses are defined in the city municipal code, you can
effectively take the owner of the house (whether they live there or the house is
a rental property) to court for violating this ordinance. A judgment against the
owner results in fines paid to affected neighbors.
Streets is a community action guide for the city and county of Spokane that
includes community policing tools for helping make your neighborhood safe and
nuisance free. Safe Streets motivates individuals to participate at the most
fundamental level of the democratic process to create a community that reflects
the standards and moral of the residents. It also teaches the community how to
maintain those standards. Safe Streets will show you how to recognize nuisance
house danger signs, organize your block, form a team with police and possible
city officials, document a public nuisance, research property ownership, and
deal with the cooperative and uncooperative property owners. Safe Streets
empowers citizens to create a nuisance-free neighborhood that is a safe, clean,
and a healthy environment for individuals and families.
Streets can be a much faster way to get results than other options. Oftentimes,
even repeated visits by the police is not enough to change behavior. But by
facing legal action and potentially large fines for failure to act, owners often
deal with the problem immediately as that is preferable to going to court. The Safe Street program has been implemented over 450 times with successful
Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.
Over 7,000 cases of personal property theft have been recorded so far this year (up 4.5% from this time last year). In many of these cases, Spokane police officers are able to recover the stolen property...with no way of identifying the owner. When they can’t find the owner, the items eventually go to auction to free up much needed space in the police evidence facility. This raises an important question-if your property is stolen and recovered by police, would you be able to prove it’s yours?
That’s where Operation ID comes into play. The idea is to mark your valuable possessions with an identifying number (like your driver’s license number). Engraving a number helps deter theft since it’s harder to sell an ID-ed item to a pawn shop. If the item is stolen, the identifying number helps you prove ownership of the item to the police.
Operation ID also involves creating an inventory of the make and model of all ID-ed items, which you then put in a secure place. In the event of theft, fire damage, or other incident where you need to make a claim to your insurance company for item replacement, your information is ready for the insurance company.
Operation ID is a free service that only takes a few minutes. Bring your valuables to your local C.O.P.S. shop to borrow an engraver and pick up an inventory log.
Another property identification program is SpokaneBikeID.org , a city wide bike registration database. The information uploaded during registration is used by police to connect a recovered bike to its rightful owner. You can bring your bike by your local C.O.P.S. shop and our volunteers will register it for you (and you can get a free child’s helmet while supplies last).For more crime prevention information, check out our Facebook , Twitter , Linkedin , and Pinterest .
Here are the top news stories about SPD, Spokane crime rates, significant arrests, and more.