Woman fails to fall for scam

Published 12:09 pm Sunday, January 11, 2015

She “played along” with her caller and found out just how much a scammer already knows about their targeted victim

A Northampton County woman contacted the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald on Friday morning, saying she was targeted on Wednesday by the “IRS Scam.”

The News-Herald reported in its Thursday edition of a similar case in Gates County where a scammer posed as a tax collector and used the fear of arrest in an effort to swindle money from their victim.

“The same thing happened to me,” said the Northampton woman, who chose not to reveal her identity. “I was threatened to be arrested if I didn’t pay the money that they claimed I owed the IRS. It’s kind’a scary to find out just how much they know about you.”

Knowing that the IRS uses the US Postal Service (by way of a certified letter) to contact a taxpayer about an issue, the local woman said she followed the scammer’s trail to see if she could gain additional information to report this scam to local law enforcement.

She said the call on Wednesday came from 234-303-5030. That Akron, Ohio number has been reported on the Internet as one that has been used in previous scams.

“I was told to call 206-201-2282 which I was told was the number for the IRS in Washington, DC, but I checked it out for myself and it’s a number in Washington state,” she said.

The News-Herald checked that number on the Internet and there were 13 listings since Jan. 7 where individuals were reporting it to be involved in the IRS Scam.

When the local woman called, she said she was connected to the office of Michael Lee.

“He claimed to be with the Audit Department of the IRS and told me if I didn’t pay what I owed them that they would have a warrant drawn for my arrest as well as freezing access to my bank account and credit cards,” she said.

To pay the taxes, the local woman was told to make an electronic transfer of money to an EFTPS account.

“I then spoke with another man, saying he was Roy Jacobs who said he was an IRS auditor, and he asked me did I want to take care of this today, to settle my account with the IRS, or did I want to be arrested and have to go to court,” she stated. “Of course I didn’t commit to anything. I told him I need to first speak with my attorney and asked could I call him back. He told me if I didn’t take care of this right now that I would be arrested, and then he abruptly hung up.”

Local and state law enforcement officials again remind citizens that the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment; require you to provide payment information over the phone; or demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card. No legitimate tax collector will threaten to arrest you or send law enforcement officers to your home if you refuse to pay taxes over the telephone.

If you believe you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or visit your local IRS office.

Report the call to the Attorney General’s Office by filing a consumer complaint at www.ncdoj.gov. You can also report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

If you’ve fallen victim to the scam or are considering responding to one of these calls, call the Attorney General’s Office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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