In recent testimony before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, 81-year-old veteran Philip Hatch of Portland, Maine detailed how IRS impersonators scammed him out of $8,000.00 and, in a brazen move, attempted to steal even more money.
According to his testimony, a man called him and pretended to be a representative from the IRS. The scammer stated that Hatch owed approximately $6,000.00 to the IRS as a result of a mistake on his tax returns. He immediately asked where he should send his check via regular mail, and the scammer declined, stating that he should go to CVS and purchase iTunes gift cards and call back to read the numbers to the scammer.
The scammer also stated that there is a warrant out for his arrest and that the marshals will be at his house within one hour. Even though Mr. Hatch stated that the purchase of Apple iTunes gift cards did not seem to be a very professional way to repay the IRS, the scammers stated that he was required to purchase the iTunes gift cards or would be subject to arrest.
After purchasing the iTunes gift cards and providing those numbers to the scammer, he was told to not tell anybody about this, including his accountant. Mr. Hatch recounted that this interchange with the scammer occurred over a period of four hours.
Surprisingly, the scammer called back the next day and stated that there was another mistake on his account and that the balance due was now $23,000.00. In fact, the scammer had another individual pretend that he was a Portland Police Officer and that there was a warrant out for his arrest.
Mr. Hatch’s son then took the telephone and stated that he was an FBI agent. The scammer said “whoops” and then hung up. When it was all said and done, Mr. Hatch was scammed out of $8,000.00.
The moral of the story here is to be very careful when anybody calls you from the “IRS.” The IRS will typically only first contact you via mail and then may follow up with a phone call or visit. Never pay the IRS with iTunes cards or gift cards, because that is the hallmark of this type of scam.
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