The FBI Salt Lake City Division has recently received numerous reports of increased efforts by scammers to target Montana residents with unsolicited telephone calls in which the caller claims to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the FBI.

Public Relations Specialist Sandra Yi Barker said it's a common scam with a twist that makes it seem more legitimate.

"The caller typically advises the recipient that money is owed on taxes, and they need to pay," Yi Barker said. "If they don't pay up they are threatened with arrest. Agents weren't clear as to whether the caller is impersonating the IRS or the FBI, but the message is clear, if they don't pay the money, the FBI will have them arrested. The twist is, the caller spoofs the phone number so that it appears to be coming from the local FBI office."

Yi Barker said that federal agencies do not call or e-mail individuals threatening them or demanding that they send money. Scammers often spoof caller ID information, and these phone calls are fraudulent even if they appear to be coming from a federal agency’s legitimate phone number. Recipients should hang up immediately and report the call.

All types of fraud schemes and scams can be reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)