Herald and Fraud, part two: The taxman scam

Sometimes, it’s not the taxman who has cometh at all. Sometimes, it’s just some schlub claiming to be the taxman.

Scams are in the air this summer. The latest one comes by word of the Lansdale Police Department, which on Monday warned residents of “a scam involving someone calling and claiming to be from the ‘Federal Crime Control Agency’ and ordering that money be sent to satisfy a bogus IRS debt.”

A Lansdale resident contacted police last Thursday and reported that, the day before, an unidentified man called a couple and told the victim’s husband that he was with the Federal Crime Control Agency. The caller said the victim’s husband had tax problems, and if the victim didn’t call the “agent” back, a warrant would be issued for her arrest.

The caller left a phone number with a 512 (Texas) area code. The victim called that number several times before reaching the phony taxman, who told her she needed to send $3,169 or risk arrest. The victim complied with the man’s demand that she sent him the money via a Greendot MoneyPak transfer service.

Soon after she did so, the victim got a call from a North Carolina phone number attempting the same scam, police said. This time, though, the victim asked questions and the caller hung up. Lansdale police said this fraud was similar to one that occurred in May.

Last month, Towamencin police said they were investigating a scam in which a telephone caller identified himself as from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and then tried to extort money from the person who answers.

The key here, it seems, is not to believe anyone calling you and claiming they are an authority, and that you need to send them money immediately or risk arrest. If they are saying they are a government authority and asking for money over the phone, start asking them questions, like their title, their employee ID number, their work telephone number, and their name.

Then hang up and call police.