Government impersonators targeting public at tax time - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Government impersonators targeting public at tax time

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The income tax filing deadline is less than two weeks away, and the closer we get, the harder scammers are working to swipe your hard-earned money.

The FBI's Atlanta field office even issued a warning recently for people to be on guard and on the lookout for crooks impersonating IRS agents, FBI agents and U.S. Marshals.

WTOC spoke to one local woman who was the intended target of a very convincing and elaborate scam.

"My first instinct was, it's a scam," said Chatham County resident Melba Judd.

Judd and her husband received a call this past Friday from a man claiming to be with the "Federal Tax Investigation Division."

Judd recalled, "He said, do you have a pen and paper, we need to write down this case number...this is the IRS. And they say we have tax penalties going back to 2004."

The problem with that, is the IRS never calls people with those claims. Judd gave WTOC the number given to her by the "agent," and we called it to see who picked up. The call went to voicemail, with a message saying the mailbox was full, before hanging up.

Clearly, the caller was a scam artist.

But Judd said the scare tactics were very convincing, and that included claims that the agency would take the Judds to court over the penalties, advising them to obtain a tax attorney.

Judd said, "But when he ended it and didn't ask for money, I'm like, ok...I'm a little nervous now."

So Judd called her accountant who assured her it was a scam, and that she'd likely get another call from the same scam later that day. And sure enough, she did.

"It was an automated call. And it said you have five counts against you, please call us back at this number immediately to avoid being arrested. You need to have your tax attorney, and call us back immediately," explained Judd.

Judd said she wants to share her experience to help keep others from becoming victims.

"That's the whole plan, they just scare the living daylights out of you with the first call. And then they call back and probably one out of fifty calls are going to call back, and (say) what can I do to keep from being arrested, and send money in I guess," Judd said. 

Here is a link to the FBI's warning out of the Atlanta field office, and click here for a form to report scammers.

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