Monday, April 27, 2015

IRS scam , phone call to pay money---be careful

I realize I haven't blogged in about two years, but today something so scary happened that I had to share it with friends and Internet land to help others.

I was called today by a phone number that I didn't recognize. When I picked up the call I was told that it was the Larimer police department and that there was a warrant out for my arrest. I had Vi with me and luckily was at the gym and was able to check her in somewhere safe while I delt with the call. I was told that a cop car had been dispatched and was on its way to arrest me for tax fraud. The man on the phone had a pretty thick accent which made me wonder if this was a scam, but I googled the number on my caller id and yet in fact it was the phone number of the Larimer Sheriff Department. My heart was racing as I was thinking of some sort of miscommunication that was gonna leed to my arrest and vi left alone at the gym.

The guy impersonating an officer claimed her was Supervisor Brad King and gave me some bogus ID#. He told me that if I didn't comply with the federal government I would be arrested and sent to federal prison for tax fraud. I kept trying to ask pertinent questions about which tax year I made the error and what I did wrong and he just yelled at me and told me to comply or they knew where I was and I would be arrested.

I like to think I am a smart person, but man when your nerves are rattled and someone is impersonating something legit, meaning the phone number they were calling from was the sheriff department, I was concerned. I was told if I hung up the phone it would show I didn't want to comply with a federal investigation and would be arrested immediately. They told me to withdraw $1800 out of my bank account to send in to pay the difference on my taxes.  I had to stay on the phone while I did it. Meanwhile I texted my husband and tried to tell him what was happening and where to meet me. He called the cops who did a search and realized there was not a warrant out for my arrest and that this was a scam. Paul texted me this information that it was a scam and to not pull out the money, but this information made me more concerned that the scammers were following me and were going to take me. The scammers kept tell me that they knew where I was and told me I was being followed by the cops and that if I didn't follow along with the investigation I would be arrested.

 After I withdrew the money they told me to go to an address that they claimed was a Safeway. Thank goodness for smart phones. I googled the address and saw it was a house. I told the person on the phone I felt more comfortable going to a different Safeway. I texted Paul the address of where I was heading and he and the cops were on their way. I had to go to a Safeway to find a reload it card (that is how they wanted the money sent in). By now I knew it was a scam, but I needed to go somewhere safe and wait till Paul and the cops arrived. The store clerk at Safeway in Boulder could tell I was in trouble and he stayed by me and also called the cops. The cops arrived and talked to the scammer on the phone, who of course hung up.

I was pretty scared from the whole ordeal. Worried I was being arrested, or worried I was being followed, and pretty terrified I was gonna be kidnapped. At first I thought it was a legit thing since they were calling from the sheriff department, but realized once I was in it that it was a scam.  I tried to think clearly under so much fear so I wouldn't give some scammer my money, not fall into a kidnappers hands, and also to help the cops track down the scammer.

The cops took my statement.  I felt pretty sheepish at first, but they told me that the caller had some convincing jargon which is why I was scared and withdrew the cash.

Please be aware dear friends and readers. If someone calls you to impersonate they are a cop and even if the number pulls up as a cop number please be careful. Either hang up and call the cops or text someone to do it for you. I also learned a couple things from the real cops

-- There is an app that allows people to call and that it shows they are calling from a different number (i.e., the Larimer Sheriff Department)
-- This type of scam is happening a lot
-- Avoid scams about IRS as a cop wouldn't be calling about it
-- A cop will never ask for money
-- You can't buy your way out of a warrant
-- If they threaten an arrest it will happen and they will just arrest you not give you a way to plead out of it
-- Cops won't yell at you when you are asking questions if you are staying calm

I am just grateful I could think clearly enough to get ahold of Paul and text him everywhere I was going. I am grateful to the Boulder Police department who responded quickly and took the matter seriously. I am grateful Paul is so smart. I am grateful vi was safe and that I never sent the money and wasn't taken. Please be safe and leery of people. It was a horrible experience to feel taken advantage of and even more terrified to be told I was being followed and a feeling of fear I was going to be taken from my husband and daughter.