A heimishe woman from Boro Park fell to a common scam on Friday afternoon, losing thousands of dollars after she received a phone call that claimed to be from the IRS.
Shomrim sent out an appeal to be more vigilant and not fall for the scam, which has been around for several years but still regularly claims victims.
The fraud usually happens with callers saying they are from the IRS, the FBI or police. The caller says that the person has a warrant for arrest due to unpaid taxes. In order to get out of the supposed predicament, the scammer says, the victim must immediately head to the bank, withdraw the money owed and hand it over to a person who will be passing by shortly.
“The #IRS or any other federal agency will NEVER call you on the phone stating that there’s a warrant for your arrest & demand that you wire them money,” Shomrim of Boro Park tweeted. “If you receive such a phone call, even if they sound intimidating/convincing don’t fall for it- #ItsAScam! #HangUpOnScams.”
In the incident that happened on Friday, the 29-year-old woman received a call with the caller ID stating it was from the local police precinct. The caller claimed to be from the IRS, telling her that there was a warrant out for her arrest due to her unpaid taxes. He threatened that she’s being monitored and that she shouldn’t call anyone. He instructed her to immediately withdraw $5,000 from her accounts.
The distraught woman went to her bank on 13th Ave. and emptied multiple bank accounts of her and her husband’s life savings. During the whole ordeal she remained on the phone with the scammer.
Once she made the withdrawal, the scammer had the victim travel to New Jersey to deposit it into a coin-flip machine.
The husband grew alarmed after a disturbing phone call he had with his wife and called Shomrim, which initiated a search for her. They found a surveillance camera video of the woman talking on the phone in front of the bank and then getting into a vehicle.
Boruch Hashem, the woman returned safe and unharmed, although all the young couple’s hard-earned money is gone.
The Internal Revenue Service notes on its website that these con artists can sound convincing when they call.
“They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling,” the tax collection agency says. “They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request.”
The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do.
The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. They will also never demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
The IRS does not require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
The IRS also does not threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.