CRESTON, Iowa -- A southwest Iowa radio station recently turning the tables on an IRS scammer by playing along all while recording the whole thing, and using it as an opportunity to warn the public.
"Alright, sir, the reason for the call was to inform you that there is a lawsuit filed against your name by the IRS regarding the tax evasion, tax evasion fraud case," the scammer said. "Are you aware of this lawsuit?"
The scammer evidently picked the wrong target. Jordan Armstrong, News Director of KSIB, immediately knew it was a scam but also saw an opportunity.
“A lot of people get scam calls at some point in their life,” said Armstrong. “And the opportunity presented itself from us here, that we were able to do this and get the word out about how common the problem is.”
Also common are the threats that come with the scam. In this case, the caller wanted nearly $4,000 and was happy to explain what would happen if he didn't get it.
“Now let me tell you, sir, at this point in time we have decided to forcefully recollect this whole amount from you by involving the internal revenue code 633,” the scammer said. “This means the IRS will put a lean on your assets, your house, your car, and all of your known bank account will be frozen and confiscated.”
After being told the transaction would take an hour, the radio employee decided he'd had enough.
After the recording aired, the radio station received calls from listeners who say the same thing happened to them.
“It appeared that it happened to quite a few people at one point or another,” said Officer Melissa Heatherington with the Creston Police Department.
Officer Heatherington says the Creston Police Department constantly gets complaints about these kinds of scams, which happen all throughout the year.
“This call was good because it shows you what extent they will go to,” said Officer Heatherington. “They can be nice, they can be forward, and they can be threatening. And even to go as far as to threaten your arrest. The best advice is to not give out any information whatsoever or converse with these people on the phone. That`s not how people conduct business with the IRS or anyone else. If you want to protect yourself, hang up the phone.”
Authorities say if the IRS wants to contact you, it will do so through the mail, not over the phone.