With Tax Season in full swing, IRS scammers are also out in force. You may have received threatening phone calls from individuals recently claiming to be from the IRS and demanding money and other personal information from you to avoid fines or even arrest and jail time. However, one would-be scammer got the surprise of his life last week in Eau Claire, WI. Rather than targeting a civilian, this scammer apparently made the mistake of calling an Eau Claire Police Officer. Better yet, it was all captured on video.
Having already received nearly 6.6 million views on Facebook alone, the video provides a perfect example of what you should do in the event someone calls you pretending to be from the IRS. It is also worth nothing that the IRS website repeatedly warns it will only identify taxpayers of potential problems via letters through the U.S Mail. IRS Agents will not make contact with a taxpayer over the phone in regards to a potential violations.
According to a local NBC News affiliate, Officer Roder received the fraudulent call on his way into the station, so he decided to call the number back when he arrived at work. Using a department landline, Officer Roder called the scammer and was told to provide his home address so the “agent” can find his case number.
Roder quickly replies, “But you said you were going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house, without my address how are you going to do that?” The scammer begins to stammer and it is all downhill from there. By the end of the call, the scammer has even seemed to have lost track of his own name, providing Roder with two different names.
While no one was victimized during this call, it is easy to see how someone less informed than Officer Roder could be taken advantage of through this type of scam. An FBI agent in Kansas City, MO said unfortunately they receive a high number of reports of similar instances around this time of year and stressed that it is important to never give away any personal information over the phone. And they added, if you are not sure, ask to call the IRS yourself instead of divulging any information to someone who calls you. The FBI agent also said so long as no personal information was taken from you, it is important to go to the IRS website and report the scam via the IRS’s online reporting system. However, if you do accidentally give away personal information, immediately contact local authorities.
LawNewz also spoke with with IRS spokesman Anthony Burke on Monday about the viral video and tax scams in general. Burke said the video is a good reminder for everyone that senior citizens are not the only targets of such scams. He also confirmed that the IRS will never make initial contact over the phone and provided a link to a recent IRS news release warning of phone scams tax season.
[image via screen grab]