Phone scammers claim to be IRS, threaten jail time to CT residents
POSTED: Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, August 17, 2014 - 3:04pm
GROTON, CT (WFSB) — An unwanted call to dozens of Connecticut residents is prompting police to warn you to "be alert" when you pick up the phone.
Scammers are pretending they're with the IRS and threatening people with jail time if they don't pay up.
Police issued a warning to residents in Groton and beyond on Tuesday about a continuing phone scam.
Over the past few days, the police department said it received multiple calls from people who were contacted by a person claiming to be an officer for the Internal Revenue Service.
The person attempted to obtain the victims' personal information like birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers, employer information, banking information, credit card numbers and other information.
The caller ID typically displays a 202 area code, which is the Washington, DC area. In some cases, it also displays the wording "IRS."
Norm Whitehurst said he received four calls from the scammers and spoke out on Tuesday in hopes of preventing you from becoming a victim.
"The first one I ignored. I figured it was a scam," Whitehurst said. "Second time, I thought maybe there's something off here."
Whitehurst said he has been getting plenty of attention lately from people claiming to be from the"IRS." They've called from a number with 866 and 917 area code. They have even used a 202 number where the IRS is based.
However, none of these calls are from actual IRS officials.
"I Googled the number and I saw it was associated with all of these IRS scams," Whitehurst said.
Tired of the calls, Whitehurst said he decided to call the scammers and confront them. He put the entire conversation to YouTube.
"They claimed they sent me paperwork that I never returned," Whitehurst said.
Whitehurst said as the conversation went on, something didn't add up especially after they threatened him with jailtime if he didn't fork over almost $2,500.
"They weren't professional," Whitehurst said. "They kept calling me Mr. Norm. Mr. Norm. This is officer Jack."
Police warned people not to give out any of their personal information to these callers and not to trust any phone numbers the callers give out. They said anyone who receives a call like this should give their local police department a call.
The Farmington police and other departments said they've been flooded with calls from potential victims.
"Since Jan. 1, we've taken around 57 different types of scam calls, 20 of them are the IRS scam," Farmington Police Lt. Colin Ryan said.
Police and Whitehurst are warning residents to be on alert next time you pick up phone.
"If it was the IRS, I would have gone into this with a different attitude," Whitehurst said.
In the end, Whitehurst said he didn't send the scammers any money – instead he filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the IRS.