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7 On Your Side: IRS scam is still going strong

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One man shares his story with 7 On Your Side of how he lost hundreds of dollars in an IRS scam. (KGO-TV)

Tax season is long gone, but the U.S. Government warns people posing as IRS workers is still going strong. Victims paid $9 million to con artists in the past nine months; among them was a military veteran in Daly City who got taken for hundreds of dollars. 7 On Your Side looked into this case because that wasn't the end of his troubles.

This veteran was put through a grueling ordeal by one scammer and after that he became a target of a half dozen more problems. He called us hoping to warn you and described what he did in the end, gave him a certain kind of payback.

Kevin Lemon can't shake the trauma of that terrible day. He says the scammers told him, "We have a warrant out for your arrest."

Here's what you need to know to avoid this scam:
The IRS will never call you to demand money or threaten to arrest you on the spot. Scammers count on scaring you into giving up your money. They sound very forceful and intimidating, but don't believe anything they say, just hang up.


READ MORE: IRS issues tips to spot suspicious calls

The caller said he was from the IRS and that Kevin never paid his taxes. He went on to say agents would be coming to take Kevin to jail and would handcuff him.

Kevin wanted to call his accountant, but the man said pay up first or go to jail.

Kevin told 7 On Your Side the caller told him not to tell his wife or anyone about this. The man stayed on the phone with Kevin the whole time as he drove to the bank, then to 7-Eleven to wire a $500 payment.

"He would keep asking me, 'Are you there?' I would say yes," Kevin recalls.

The 7-Eleven he went to didn't have any moneygram forms so the man told him to drive to a check cashing place.

"It had a locked door, so they buzzed me in," Kevin said.

Kevin wired the money. The ordeal took three hours and when he got home, the man called back.

Kevin said the caller said to him, "'You need to go back to the bank and withdraw $1,500 more dollars.' I told him 'No, you're not taking all of my money.'"

The caller got angry and told Kevin in some profanities that he just got scammed.

Kevin's wife Nelly said she awoke to her husband's screams. She heard, "No, no, no, no! You're not taking my money! You're not taking any more of my money!"

Nelly says it took Kevin two days to calm down enough to tell her what happened. She says, "He was trembling. He was trembling, he was so angry."

After that, Kevin got on a hit list and got attacked by scams for an entire week. He got one text claiming to be his bank and five more calls from IRS scammers. Finally, he pushed back.

"I said, 'I know this is a scam and why are you doing this to the people?'" Kevin said.

To his surprise, the scammer responded. Kevin said, "He said, 'This is our only way to make money.' He said, 'We don't even make much money doing this, but it's some money.'"

The crook told Kevin he was working in a scam center in India and he didn't really like it.

"I told him I'd pray for him. He said, 'Thank you.' That was it. He'll try to get out of there," Kevin said.

Kevin isn't sure if that's true, but it brought tears to his eyes. Maybe he turned around the life of that scammer halfway around the world.

Related Topics:
society7 On Your Sidescamtaxesu.s. & worldIRSgovernmentconsumer concernsconsumer watchmoneylost moneyscamsfraudDaly City
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