RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia State Police are warning people of a new phone scam in which the caller claims to be from the IRS and demands payments.
According to state police, the caller demands the payment by being “verbally threatening and intimidating the individual.”
The caller ID number used in the scam is a legitimate Virginia State Police office phone number with an 804 area code. This is known as “spoofing” and allows the scammer to disguise his identity.
Police say the caller has a “thick foreign accent” and says he works for the IRS. The scammer also has personal information about the people being called, but it is information that can be commonly found on the internet.
The caller threatens people who refuse to pay with imprisonment or other severe punishments.
The phone scam targets senior citizens, according to police. A 72-year-old Fredericksburg resident was targeted and scammed out of more than $12,000. Another victim reported that she sent the caller $2,000 in gift cards.
Police have released the following common characteristics of the IRS Phone Scam:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be from the IRS and think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. You may also call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.