Police: Woman scammed into buying iTunes cards as IRS payment

HEGINS, Pa. (WHTM) – Police are sending out a warning after a 50-year-old woman was scammed out of $200 by someone who claimed to be representing the Internal Revenue Service.

The unknown caller told the woman she was going to be arrested within two hours if she did not purchase two $100 iTunes gift card immediately.

State police in Lykens said the victim purchased the cards and read them to the caller.

Police advise that all residents be aware of the potential for fraudulent activities associated with the following numbers: 206-539-5707 and 909-458-0712.

The fraudulent numbers have been traced to Seattle, Washington, and Ontario, Canada respectively.

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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