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Ozark Police Warn of IRS Phone Scam

OZARK, Mo. -- Ozark Police are warning of an IRS phone scam. Callers claim to be from the IRS and demand money and other personal information.
OZARK, Mo. --  Ozark Police are warning of an IRS phone scam. Callers claim to be from the IRS and demand money and other personal information.

"This message is for you-- this is Officer David Carter from the IRS."  That was a snippet of a message left on the answering machine of one local couple.  "Now, if you don't return the call and I don't hear from your attorney either-- all the things I can do for you is wish you good luck with what unfolds for you."

The man in the message called from a 202 area code and demanded $4,368 from the couple-- along with their social security numbers.

"He said it was imperative we call him back and that he has charges against us," said the Scam Target.  "My husband refused to give him information."

Then, the man on the other line said the couple had an hour and a half to decide how they would pay.  When the couple hung up, the caller called back about thirty seconds later from a 417 area code-- claiming to be the Ozark Police Department.  He said an officer would come arrest the couple if they didn't find the funds.

"It's not the way the IRS works," says Lieutenant Truman Isbell, with the Ozark Police Department.  "And the police department is not going to come and arrest you for not paying your taxes."

Ozark Police say they've had several calls reporting the same scam.

"They're actually spoofing the IRS number so that when people look at the number on caller ID, it will actually show up as the IRS number," says Lt. Isbell.  "So people should be aware of that, too."

We had Lt. Isbell call the 202 number during our visit with him, and received a recording.  Back at the office, we tried again and got the same message.  When we called the 417 number, it rang and rang-- no one picked up.

"The IRS will not ask for pin numbers, it will not ask for social security numbers, and it definitely won't ask for account numbers, bank accounts-- things like that," says Lt. Isbell.

The targeted couple hopes by sharing their story, these scammers will have a hard time turning a target into a victim.

"I wish I could sue the daylights out of these people," said the Scam Target.  "Turn the tables on them and let them see what it's like."

Lt. Isbell tells KOLR10 since the callers are using out of state, fake names and numbers-- there isn't much the local police can do.  They are however forwarding complaints to the state attorney general's office-- which will forward complaints to a federal agency.

Lt. Isbell says as far as he knows, no one locally has actually paid money to the callers.

He says if you become a target, you can contact local law enforcement.  You should also contact the IRS or the Federal Trade Commission.

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.  The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue if there really is such an issue.

If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

If you've been targeted by the scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" by clicking here.  Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
   

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