The tax man cometh, but he’s usually not bearing gifts.

That’s the message local law enforcement officials offered this week after receiving a report from an elderly woman who was told she would receive some Canadian sweepstakes through the Internal Revenue Service.

The woman initially went to the police department and spoke to Lt. Tom Jones, who referred her to Undersheriff Danny Lewis, since she lives south of Tahlequah.

The woman reported receiving a call last week from a man identifying himself as Peter Ford and claiming he was with the IRS. She was told to send Ford two money orders through Western Union, and she would receive an unspecified amount from the Canadian sweepstakes. She was told a Canadian port fee had to be paid that day.

Sheriff Norman Fisher said he has assigned Lewis to speak with the woman and to try to locate Peter Ford.

“We’ve heard of this [scam] before,” Lewis said. “We urge people not to send money to someone claiming they’ll receive Canadian sweepstakes.”

Police Chief Steve Farmer said the police department has also received scam reports. He warned against giving personal information to unknown people over the telephone or Internet.

“Chances are, if the IRS wants money from you, it’s not going to be to help you win a sweepstakes,” he said. “They generally write letters requesting money if you owe back taxes.”

Fisher said there’s an old adage to follow when dealing with this type of situation.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “If you get a call, letter or e-mail and it doesn’t sound quite right, call us or come to the sheriff’s office before you become their next victim.”


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