A 45-year-old Darien resident of Hollow Tree Ridge Road got the call that scammed her out of thousands of dollars last Friday morning.
A male identifying himself as a collector for the IRS told her she owed back taxes to the federal government, and if she didn’t pay up by noon her husband would be subject to arrest.
She withdrew $5,800 from her bank. She was then directed to go to an Apple store and buy Apple gift cards, which she did.
Police didn’t say, but usually in these scams, the person on the other end of the line tells the victim not to hang up the phone while getting the money and then arranging to have it sent somehow.
In this case, the scammer had the victim read to him the nubeers on the gift cards. She did so.
It didn’t take long for the money to be removed from the cards. She asked a different Apple store later in the day whether there was still money on the cards, and was told the cards had been accessed and that there was a zero balance on them.
The woman went to police at 6:12 p.m. The investigation is continuing, police said.
Advice from Police on Avoiding This
Darien police on Tuesday issued this statement to warn about IRS phone scams:
“The Darien Police Department cannot be strong enough in our ongoing warnings; the Internal Revenue Service, local, state or federal law enforcement agencies, or any other legitimate governmental agency will never ask for anyone to purchase gifts cards, pre-paid debit cards, Western Union transactions and the like to settle any type of debt.
“The mere fact that someone threatens over the phone to arrest a loved one or put someone in jail over some purported debt should always be a red flag.”
- “IRS Urges Public To Stay Alert for Scam Phone Calls” (IRS website, 2015)
It’s an Old Scam:
- Darien Police: How to Avoid Being Victimized by IRS Phone Scams (July 8, 2015)
- Darien Woman Loses $2,400 to Phone Scammer Who Said She Owed IRS (July 13, 2015)
- IRS Phone Scammers Recently Calling Darien Residents (Nov. 2, 2015)
- Elderly Woman Loses $1,000 to Thief in IRS Phone Scam (July 29, 2016)