KILGORE (KYTX) - More than $5 Million have been stolen from American tax payers in a sophisticated IRS telephone scam. Last week, Tyler police released a warning after a Tyler woman was taken for a large sum of money. At least 90-thousand people have filed similar complaints.
CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey spoke to an east Texas man -- who says he was nearly scammed as well.
A letter to the public posted on the IRS website reads "Taxpayers should remember the first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue...but through official correspondence sent through the mail." More than 1,000 people who didn't know that -- fell victim to the scam.
"He was threatening me saying he was gonna issue an arrest for my arrest my wife's arrest," said Wayne French. He got a call from a man a few weeks ago claiming to be with the IRS. It didn't take long for him to realize something wasn't right.
"The IRS doesn't act like that."
He says during the conversation, the person on the other end of the line told him he owed the IRS big time and payment was required immediately.
"Go to an ATM machine and withdraw the money and stay on the phone and you go to the Kroger store. I said sir that's gonna take about 45 minutes to an hour, he said I don't care, I'm gonna stay on the phone and instruct you what to do with the money."
It was those instructions that raised alarm.
"They just don't act that way, I've dealt with the IRS in the past."
French's logic saved him from losing his money, but for more than 1,000 tax payers, they weren't so lucky.
When it comes to collecting delinquent taxes... Here's what the IRS won't do:
-It will never ask for credit, debit or prepaid card info
-Never insist on a particular type of payment
-Never request immediate payment
-Never threaten law enforcement action
Wayne says he had gotten multiple calls from the phony number before actually picking up. So we called that number, then we called the number again.There was still no answer and still a full mailbox.
French says after reporting the incident to the IRS he has a warning for other taxpayers.
"Just hang up, that's the only way you're gonna get rid of em'."
Real IRS representatives said this scam is very sophisticated. Saying the callers have been able to disguise the caller id to show that it's the IRS. They've been giving out phony badge number and names. The scammers are even able to recite the last four digits of your social security number.
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams --such as a lottery sweepstakes-- and solicitations --such as debt relief-- that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.?