Virginia Law Enforcement Warns of IRS Phone Scam
By Alice Minium

Scam imageThe Gloucester Sheriff’s Office has issued a general warning regarding an ongoing phone scam where callers falsely identify as agents of the IRS. Thousands of residents have received fraudulent calls threatening IRS legal action. The calls insist that residents must return this "urgent” call and "must settle debts immediately.” The caller will threaten legal action, deportation, license revocation, or even arrest.

Mary Leedom, a York County resident who has received calls, described their threats. "They told me ‘The Internal Revenue Service is preparing to file against you.’”

According to the IRS website, the IRS will never demand payment or personal information over the phone without first sending out a bill. The Virginia State Police in conduit with the Gloucester sheriff, who received over 30 complaints about calls in one day, have urged residents not to respond to these fraudulent callers.

"The callers were pretty persistent,” Leedom said. "Three to four calls a day with those threats is enough to make anyone nervous.”

Leedom, returning the call after repeated harassment, said that the caller spoke in a "thick foreign accent” and asked her for her name, address, and social security number.

"I refused to give them my name. I didn’t fall for it. It just didn’t feel legitimate,” she said.

Unlike Leedom, thousands of others across Virginia continue to fall prey to these scams. The Fredericksburg Police Department has reported that an elderly resident was recently scammed out of as much as $12,000. The Gloucester Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police hope to avoid this for the rest of its residents by releasing frequent warnings and encouraging individuals to report the offenders to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800- 366-4484.

"Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don't be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you're not hearing from us.”

 





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