For years, telephone scams have plagued hard working citizens into paying fines or penalties; scams even exist to help get unsuspecting people out of their expensive timeshare agreements. Yesterday, a Boca Raton woman was targeted in a scam that could have cost her $8,000, with the caller identifying themselves as a representative from the Internal Revenue Service. The caller stated that she could be arrested by federal agents if she failed to pay them the money that day.
The woman told Palm Beach County Sheriffs office that she became very afraid, but went to her bank and transferred the funds anyway. When speaking to a friend about the suspicious telephone call, she was urged to speak to police officers and to get more information. After speaking with representatives from her bank, Palm Beach County Sheriffs Officer, Christopher Wink, was able to assist her in flagging her account and putting a hold on the transaction. The woman’s name has not been released, however, she was described as being over the age of 65. The caller has also been unidentified at this time.
People over the age of 55 have often been targeted in these kinds of financial schemes due to age and the assumption that they have large sums of money in their bank accounts. Financial scams often go unreported and therefore leave those in their wake unable to recover the money they lost. Financial schemes are usually considered a low risk crime, however the penalty for pretending to be a federal agent can be punishable by a hefty fine and up to three years in prison.
Police urge anyone who has received a suspicious call such as this to not act on the callers demands and to contact them immediately. Calls like these are usually very difficult to trace so it is very important to act quickly and contact local law enforcement directly after the incident. The IRS will never demand immediate payment for any reason unless first notifying the individual by mail and will never ask for any personal debit or credit card information over the phone.
In the event that you or a loved one have been targeted, or suspect that you have been targeted in a scam such as this, the IRS urges you to call 877-908-3360.