5/10/2018 1:38:00 PM Resident loses $13,000 in IRS phone scam
A resident of Oak Ridge recently lost $13,000 after falling victim to a phone scam. The resident told the Sheriff's Office on May 1 that he had received a call at his home from someone impersonating a representative of the Internal Revenue Service. After the impersonator demanded payment for taxes owed, the resident forwarded $13,000 via a Google pay voucher.
The Sheriff's Office reminds residents that fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to work for the IRS typically increase this time of year. The scammers tell victims that back taxes are owed and an arrest will follow if they are not paid.
"The IRS will not come and arrest you, because they do not have arrest powers," Sgt. Jody Hamlett wrote on nextdoor.com in April 2017. "In this country no one goes to jail for owing taxes. You can go to jail for cheating on your taxes and you can go to jail for trying to trick the tax collector, but you can't go to jail simply because you owe the IRS."
The IRS sends correspondence via the U.S. Postal Service and does not call citizens, so if you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, just hang up, Hamlett urged.
"If the person states they will be coming to arrest you, just advise them you will call 911 if they come to your property," Hamlett wrote.
Often individuals claiming to be from the IRS are calling from another country and are able to make it appear on Caller ID as though they are calling from a phone number other than their real number.
Unfortunately, there is very little the Sheriff's Office can do to help victims of this scam recover money.
"Please be smart and call us if it sounds like fraud... it probably is a fraudulent call if you're asked to send money or to purchase a payment card of some sort," Hamlett advised.