Police are warning about a new IRS phone scam in the Janesville area, sometimes involving recent immigrants, and another scam involving a fake inheritance.

In the IRS scam, callers claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers and might know a lot about their targets, according to a Janesville Police Department news release.

The callers usually alter the caller ID to make it look as if the IRS is calling. Recent calls to Janesville residents are originating from the Janesville police non-emergency number, 608-757-2244.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS that must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims might be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

In many cases, the “IRS” caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims might be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

The IRS will never call from the Janesville Police Department phone lines and will never ask you to buy gift cards to settle tax disputes, according to the release.

The second attempt to defraud people has been called the Canada Trust Inheritance Scam.

Scammers target residents with mail notifications from an “estate locator.” The notification says an unclaimed inheritance is waiting to be claimed.

Check other sources before sending money in response to an “estate locator” solicitation, police advise. Check with relatives about recent deaths in the family, and contact the local Better Business Bureau, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or state Attorney General’s Office to check if there have been any investigations into the person or company making the solicitation.

Legitimate law firms, executors of wills and others who have been named to distribute estate funds to heirs normally do not request a payment to find out about an inheritance, according to the release.

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