Cop Cleverly Foils Scam Artist Claiming To Be IRS Agent
Kristin Danley 6/1/2017
People have been perplexed by phone calls and voicemails they've been receiving that threatens them with being arrested and potentially prosecuted for a crime they don't remember committing.
The phone calls are being placed to both cell phones and landlines from representatives claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. Shockingly, innocent people are being accused of committing fraud or having unpaid balances that will land them in jail.
However, one such phone call was foolishly made to Kyle Roder, a police officer with the Eau Claire Police Department in Wisconsin.
Officer Roder was listening to his voicemail when he was taken aback by one particular message. It was accompanied by an unknown number and left by a man who said he worked for the IRS. The man threatened to arrest the officer if he didn't call him back immediately.
The officer guessed it was a scam, so he called the man back, recording the entire exchange. Officer Roder asked the man if he was with the IRS and said he'd received the message to return the man's call, that he had been accused of "fraud or something."
The man purportedly representing the IRS confirmed he was with the agency and requested a case number. Officer Roder said he was never provided with one, so the man said he could look it up if Officer Roder provided him with his address. But Officer Roder threw a wrench in the man's spiel.
"But you said you're going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house. If you don't have my address, how are you going to do that?"
Facebook/ Eau Claire PD
Then Officer Roder asked how much time he had until he would be arrested. The man mumbled that he would be arrested after their "working hours are over." Officer Roder asked if he could simply make a payment at his local IRS office. The man weaseled his way through that question with an intriguing answer.
"I'm really sorry to say, but your local office doesn't have your case file anymore. Your case file has been handed to us, because you're being investigated by our department."
Officer Roder then requested the man's name and badge number, and posed a big question. He asked how he could know whether or not this was a scam, since he'd seen on the news that the IRS wouldn't actually call him, but instead would send a letter. The supposed IRS representative had an answer ready.
"In some emergency cases, we do make phone calls so that we can contact the taxpayer."
Facebook/Eau Claire PD
However, Detective Don Henning with the Eau Claire County Sheriff's office pointed out that his office, which issues warrants, has never handled such a request from the IRS.
"The sheriff's office does not receive information from the IRS or warrants for citizens based on phone calls like this. This is truly a scam."
Sadly, this is a common scam carried out by fake IRS agents and other false government representatives. The Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel project, which tracks consumer complaints, logged three million such complaints last year. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen confirmed that the telephone scam has spread across the country. He urges people to "not be deceived by these threatening phone calls."
"We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business."
John reminded people of the five things scammers will do, but the IRS will not. They are tell-tale signs of a scam, he said. The IRS will never:
--Call and demand immediate payment or call about any taxes owed without having mailed a bill first.
--Demand that a person pay taxes without giving that person the opportunity to question or appeal the amount he or she supposedly owes.
--Require a taxpayer to use a specific payment to remedy an outstanding balance, such as a prepaid debit card.
--Request credit card or debit card numbers via phone.
--Threaten a taxpayer with legal action taken by law enforcement, specifically having someone arrested for not paying a balance.
Instead, John said if taxpayers receive such a call, they can contact the IRS to discover if they do indeed have a balance. If a person doesn't owe taxes or doesn't believe he or she does, then the phone call needs to be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Also, the IRS doesn't seek reparation via email either.
Here is footage from Officer Roder's phone call with the supposed IRS agent.
So far, more than 13 million people have watched Officer Roder's video and more than 238,000 people have shared it, which was his goal--to help spread the word about this scam. He recommended that no one banter with a scammer like he did, as he is a "trained professional." Heed his advice and be cautious if you receive any such phone call yourself.
Sources: IRS, CBS News, Facebook/Eau Claire PD FB Image Credit: Facebook/Eau Claire PD