Last week, I received two calls from the 254 area code from numbers I didn't recognize. I let them go to voicemail, and both left messages in broken English and robotic voices.

Both messages indicated that an unnamed legal firm had papers that I needed to sign, and that I needed to send them payment information before they would release them to me. If I didn't pay up and get the paperwork filed, I would "face the full prosecution of the government charges." (That's an actual quote from one of the messages, I kid you not.)

My mom recently received a call from folks claiming to be with the IRS and demanding she make an immediate payment (for what, they didn't say) or face jail time. She called me shaken up, but thankfully she didn't give them any information.

Scam calls like these have been a nuisance for some time, but police in Temple say they've gotten worst in our area recently.

If you ever receive a call from anyone claiming to be from the IRS and demanding any sort of payment or personal information, immediately hang up. The IRS doesn't operate that way.

And NO government or law enforcement office will ever demand you pay for any services using Apple or other gift cards. (Seriously, that's a scam they run.)

The most important thing to remember is not to panic if you get one of these calls or a voicemail, especially if it's in fractured English or a robotic voice. If you're worried that there may be some real issue, call your local police department and tell them what happened. They may have heard it before and can tell you it's a scam, or they can point you in the right direction to get any serious matter resolved.

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