7 On Your Side checks out IRS scam

7 On Your Side looks into a widespread IRS scam going around in the Bay Area asking people to send money.
April 4, 2014 9:33:09 PM PDT
A telephone scam based on the April 15th tax deadline is exploding in the Bay Area. 7 On Your Side have been tracking it and we have not seen anything like this in years.

Do you remember a few years back when we were all getting calls about car warranties? The conmen were trying to sell us bogus service contracts. Well, this is growing into that size. 7 On Your Side has been receiving complaints every day in our offices.

Consumers are calling and saying fake IRS agents are demanding money. Michael Bowker played one of those calls for us.

"'Warning for this message'. I think he is saying 'warning for this message,' but I don't... it's uh," said Bowker.

The caller is hard to understand, appears to be reading from a script and the connection is bad.

"When you subscribe to a magazine and you get a free phone. I think that's what he's using," said Bowker.

And that's why Bowker called us.

"Well, so, one I saw your piece on the IRS scams and it was high on my mind and I got this phone call that is very suspicious," said Bowker.

Frank David of San Jose got one of these calls, too. He told us, "It sounds like a sweat shop, right. Like a boiler room, right."

Here David plays a portion of the call. His connection is a bit better than Bowker's, but not by much.

The caller says, "After you listen to this message, I need you or the attorney of record to return the call."

"Any call from the IRS telling you, you must pay taxes in a certain way or we need to hear from your attorney is not the IRS calling. It's not how we do business," said Raphael Tulino, a spokesperson for the IRS. "We've seen the evolution of a phone scam that is quit sinister and quit nasty actually. Were you are getting a call allegedly from the IRS. You're not. It is not the IRS. The caller, the scammer, says you owe taxes and must pay them on a prepaid debit card, wire transfer or credit card. The most common is a prepaid debit card and then, the caller, if you don't comply, can be quit insulting and threatening."

That's if you can get through. David tries calling the phone number back with us there, but there was no connection.

Bowker tried to call back too and found the phone number did not belong to the IRS. He told us, "I looked it up on the Internet and it is commercial. It is owned by a business of some sort."

Bottom line the IRS almost never calls anyone, almost never emails anyone. If you get one of these calls do not fall for it.


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