IRS Warns Taxpayers of New Scam
Scam artists are taking advantage of tax season. Authorities are investigating a massive scam in which criminals are posing as IRS agents and demanding money. The scammers are calling around 10,000 Americans every week.
Al Cadenhead is senior pastor at Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Last fall he got a message on his cell phone from someone claiming to be with the IRS.
The message said - "Don't disregard this message as delay in calling us back might end up into a legal matter for you."
He did call back.
"This woman gave me her name and her badge number, said she was informing me that they were filing a warrant for my arrest,” Dr. Cadenhead said.
He reluctantly followed orders. Again and again he drove to his bank and withdrew money, then went to drug stores where he bought prepaid debit cards. Finally, he read the scammers the pin numbers on the cards. That was all they needed to get the money. In all, they got $16,000 out of Cadenhead.
At least 366,000 people have reported receiving a call, and more than 3,000 of those have been fooled by the scam, giving up a total of $15.5 million.
Tim Camus is a Deputy Inspector General with the U.S. Treasury Department. He says in the history of scams he’s had to deal with, this one “is the largest, most pervasive impersonation scam in the history of the agency.”
As for Al Cadenhead -- he just wanted to forget about it. But he knew he had to do something to help other potential victims.
"The only benefit for me is that I have some satisfaction in knowing that maybe a few people can just hang up."
The IRS says if you get a call from someone claiming to be with the agency demanding immediate payment and threatening arrest to hang up.
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