Scams and Ripoffs: Watch Out for IRS Impersonators

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV)-- A woman in our area almost fell victim to scammers.

"It flipped me out, I was really scared, I was just like what, what, you know," said Barlow, who was almost scammed.

She was getting off of work Thursday when she got a message from someone claiming they were from the IRS. They told her she owed the government over $2,000.

Part of the phone message said this:

"I owed money to the IRS and if I didn't give them a call within 24 hours I was going to be picked up by the local cops and I was going to be put in jail for six months," said Barlow.

At first, she believed it.

"I was prepared to pay, and she was like 'you have to pay now, you have to pay now', and I told her the next day I had off was Monday, and that I was going to try to get the money together," said Barlow.

But, her parents stopped her.

"They started running through it and the first thing they said is 'that's a scam', they just had it on the news," said Barlow.

"As far as scams go, phone scams go, this is the largest the IRS has ever seen," said IRS media specialist, Dan Boone.

Boone says they have received reports of more than 20,000 calls made by these scammers, and over a million dollars lost from people who fell victim to the scam.

"The bottom line is, if you really do owe taxes to the IRS, you'll get some kind of notice in the mail, you will not get a phone call out of the blue," said Boone.

WHSV tried calling the number back with Barlow, and they talked us around in circles.

Barlow suggests that everyone be cautious with who they talk to on the phone. She even offers advice to anyone who gets the same kind of call.

"I would just hang up, just hang up the phone," said Barlow.

The IRS is investigating this scam and they ask that anyone who receives these kind of calls to report it to the treasury inspector general.

You can find the REAL number of the IRS at 1-(800)-829-1040.


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