Last year, I received a text from an alleged IRS agent saying a warrant would be issued for my arrest if I didn’t call them back immediately.
The message looked similar to the one below.
Thankfully, I was smart enough to realize it was a scam. Unfortunately, some unsuspecting recipients occasionally panic and give in to the scammers’ demands, which typically involve sending them a money order.
Recently, Kyle Roder, a member of the Eau Claire Police Department in Wisconsin, called one of these bozos back after receiving a similar message, and hilariously played along with the fake IRS agent.
The scammer, unaware he’s about to be scammed, asks for a case number. When Roder says he wasn’t given one, the “agent” says he can look Roder up by his address.
“But you said you’re going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house,” Roder says. “If you don’t have my address, how are you going to do that?” He also asks how much time he has until his arrest, to which the man replies, “Until our shift is over.”
The would-be swindler’s attempt to scare Roder into wiring money gets even less convincing when he offers to identify himself with his name and government badge number.
“This is James Maxwell and I’m holding a badge number of ML0544501221, that’s my badge number.”
When Roder grabs a pen and asks him to repeat the number, however, the phony agent says, “This is James Johnson.” When Roder catches him giving a different name, the man tries to cover up by saying, “James Maxwell Johnson, sir.”
Contrary to the man’s claim that Roder was hours from being arrested, the department says they don’t get arrest warrants from the IRS.
Roder recommends that anyone who receives a similar call refrain from engaging the caller and just hang up. The police department decided to post video of the call, which has been viewed millions of times, to educate people.
See the IRS website for more information on this and other tax-based scams.
Hopefully, Roder’s viral video will prevent a number of good people from falling for this scheme…