'Mind your own business:' Hear what an IRS Scammer tells CBS 58 Investigates
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58)-- Scammers, posing as the IRS, are taking millions from people across the country.
The phone scam starts with an automated phone message, saying you owe unpaid taxes and must call back in order to avoid arrest. CBS 58 Investigates decided to call the scammers back.
“This is Alex Marshall with a badge number of 55028,” the man, posing as an IRS agent said when CBS 58 called.
CBS 58 reporter Kristen Barbaresi gave the scammer a fake name. The scammer said she owes about $4,000 in unpaid taxes and threatened to have her arrested if she didn't pay up
“You need to go to your bank, once you reach your bank, you simply need to get this money in cash,” the scammer said.
He went on to say that once we had the cash we would need to convert it to a third party card, like a prepaid debit card and mail it.
After playing along for about 15 minutes, our reporter told the scammer who she really is.
“I'm an investigative reporter, we're working on a story about the scam you're running.”
“That's not your concern,” the scammer responded. “Mind your own business.”
The man, who admitted his name isn't really Alex Marshall didn’t hang up, instead, he told CBS 58 more about what he does. He says he works in another country with about 30 others.
“I’m not scamming people who are living on the street,” he said. “I’m scamming people who can be able to pay me $1,000. So we are not like you. We are scammer but we are human. We are not like you. Because in your country, you people don't have humility.”
He also bragged about how successful this scam is.
“In December 2017 I got $153,000, in January I got $182,000, in February I got $120,000,” he said.
We played our conversation with the scammer for Christopher Miller, who actually works for the IRS.
“These people are very brazen,” Miller said.
And Miller says these con artists make a lot of money. Since this phone scam started in October of 2013, people across the country have been conned out of $62 million. In Wisconsin people lost about $700,000.
“Unfortunately these scammers will prey on those people's intention to do the right thing and work on fear and intimidation,” Miller said.
Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get scammed. If the IRS is actually trying to reach you, they will mail you a notice first. The IRS will never call out of the blue and threaten arrest, and never ask you to pay over the phone or with a prepaid card or gift card.
“If you have any question as to whether the IRS is truly, truly trying to get ahold of you, hang up and call us at a number you know and can independently trust is the IRS,” Miller said.
Miller says because the scammers are outside the US, it can be hard to catch them. The scammer CBS 58 talked to made it clear he doesn't think police will ever catch up with him.
“I’m sitting over here in my country and telling you, your country, your government, if you dare, try and find me.”
Police in India did arrest several people last year for running this scam, but because it’s so profitable, the IRS says when one group is shut down, another pops up.
If you get one of these calls, you can report it here.