Police: Woman lost $9K to tax scam

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A 28-year-old woman was scammed out of $9,000 when police said she was deceived by someone claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service.

The unknown scam artist threatened in a phone call that the woman would be arrested and placed in jail if she did not pay back taxes immediately.

State police in Gettysburg said the woman went to the Dollar General store in Fairfield, purchased 18 iTunes gift cards, and loaded each with $500 for a total purchase of $9,000. She then called back the scam artist, scratched the back off the 18 cards, and read the redeem codes over the phone.

The IRS warned this year that it has seen a surge of phone scams where victims have been threatened with arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things unless they pay a bogus tax bill. The callers then con the victims into sending cash, usually through prepaid debit cards or wire transfers.

The scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling, and they often use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first mailing a bill, nor will it demand payment without giving an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed. The agency will not require a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Another tell-tale sign: the IRS will not threaten to bring in police or other law-enforcement groups to have someone arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and you don’t owe taxes, you can report it on the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or call 800-366-4484.

If you owe or think you owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

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