Persistent IRS phone scam hits metro, threatening jail time for those who don’t pay

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An old scam seems to be making its way around the metro. It threatens to send the person getting the call to jail, if they don’t pay their taxes immediately.

“We are calling you from investigation team of IRS,” one such call began.

Melissa Mader-Schaefer started getting the mysterious calls just as the tax season was getting underway.

“I didn’t think anything more about it, but the phone calls kept coming,” she said.

Those calls continued even after her husband filed their taxes. With each, call the deadline to act grew shorter, until Wednesday when the message said she had 24 hours.

"You will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegation pressed on your name at this moment,” the automated call said.

Schaefer beat them to the punch, calling the police herself.

“Lee’s Summit Police said the same thing, she said you have no idea how many phone calls I’ve gotten to complain about it, just yesterday,” she said.

Schaefer didn’t fall for the scam, knowing exactly what the callers were after.

“You’re supposed to call them immediately and tell them everything they want to know, which I assume is your name, phone number, address, personal information, credit card numbers. They are going to ask you for money.”

The Treasury Inspector General says scammers pretending to be the IRS have bilked people out of $36 million. Five people were arrested in May suspected of being part of the scheme, but it hasn’t stopped the calls.

Victims are asked to the call the Inspector General at 1.800.366.4484

The IRS says you can spot a scam because it will never:

1. Call you without first sending a bill for taxes owed.

2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to appeal

3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes,

4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5. Threaten to bring in local police to have you arrested for not paying.

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