copyright the Chronicle November 8, 2017
by Tena Starr
A scammer pretending to be from the IRS recently made a remarkably bad call. She dialed the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and, unbeknownst to her, ended up talking to Chief Deputy Phil Brooks, who she threatened with arrest if he didn’t immediately pay what she claimed he owed the federal government.
The Sheriff’s Department has several lines and received four phone calls from scammers that day, all of them recorded messages with a call back number, Chief Deputy Brooks said by phone last week.
So he called back.
The IRS scam is a particularly vicious one because the callers are sophisticated and can be very threatening. They typically say that a person owes a significant amount of money in back taxes, and a sheriff will arrest them soon if they don’t pay up. Like, right now.
“The ‘agent’ utilizes fear and intimidation tactics to get the victim to forward money discretely and privately, and even tells them that a warrant will be issued by the Sheriff and the person will be arrested if they don’t comply,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote in a press release about the incident.
Chief Deputy Brooks dragged the call out for 15 minutes or so and pretty much let the scam run its course.
In this case, the scammer, who called herself IRS agent Christina Fernandez, said he owed $7,986 to the IRS. He said that when he informed Ms. Fernandez that he didn’t have that amount of money, the sum drifted downward to $2,795.
…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:
Annual online subscription
Short-term online subscription
(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)