PITTSBURG — The Pittsburg Police Department is reminding residents that they should be leery of anyone claiming to be a government official (i.e. a law enforcement official, IRS official, District Court Judge, etc.) who demands immediate payment or requests sensitive personal identifying information (such as your social security number) over the phone, a release from the police department said. 

Furthermore, residents should exercise extreme caution if the individual requests wiring money, provide credit or debit card information, or purchase a pre-paid debit or gift card over the phone. 

According to the release, during an Impersonation Phone Scam, the suspect will contact a victim by phone and claim to be an officer or agent with a legitimate government agency (i.e. the Internal Revenue Service, the Pittsburg Police Department, etc.). The suspect tells the victim that they owe taxes, or have an existing warrant for their arrest, and if they do not pay the fine immediately, they will arrest the victim. The suspect will then request payment through either a wire transfer (i.e. MoneyGram, Western Union), by having the victim provide their debit or credit card number over the phone, or have the victim purchase a prepaid debit or gift card and provide the number of this card over the phone. 

The police department recommends area residents to take the following steps if they suspect someone trying to fraud them. 

First, request the official's name and badge employee number, and then ask to call the official immediately back at the agency's published phone number. People can contact local agencies at these phone numbers: 

• Pittsburg Police Department – 620-231-1700 

• Crawford County Sheriff's Office – 620-724-8274 

• Internal Revenue Service – 899-829-1040 

• Federal Bureau of Investigation (Joplin) – 417-206-5700 

Residents who have already received a similar phone call and believe they are a victim of fraud, can contact their local law enforcement agency and request to file a report. Contact the Pittsburg Police Department at 620-231-1700, or at the Tips Hotline 620- 231-TIPS (8477), if people have information related to these incidents or other crimes. Callers may remain anonymous.