Dublin Villager

Phony IRS agents scam thousands from residents

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Nine Dublin residents have received calls during the past few months from scammers claiming to be Internal Revenue Service agents.

Of the nine calls Dublin police have received regarding the scam, two residents have been parted with their money, Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg said.

A report from March 6 and 7 said a resident in the 8200 block of Shannon Glen Boulevard received a message requesting he call an IRS hotline.

When he did, the resident was told by a man claiming to be an IRS agent that an arrest warrant had been issued for him for money laundering.

The Dublin resident was told he could settle the matter by paying $12,000 with Green Dot currency cards.

He was contacted by the same man the next day, claiming that he needed to settle taxes for his wife with $9,000 in Green Dot money cards.

When the Dublin man was contacted again to pay another $14,000 on overseas properties, he called police.

In a case from December, a resident in the 7400 block of Maynooth Drive was defrauded of $5,986 by a man claiming to be from the IRS. He told the Dublin resident if he didn't pay overdue taxes, he would be jailed for 17 months.

Three calls were made to the man, seeking different amounts to be paid with Green Dot money cards.

Dublin isn't the only community to be targeted in the scam, von Eckartsberg said.

"To my knowledge, this is a fairly new scam, but from what I've been reading, it seems to be going on all over the place, not just in Dublin," he said.

"There are a lot of different parts of the state that have had reports of this. It seems fairly widespread."

The scam is likely coming from a source outside the U.S., von Eckartsberg said, although the scammers have used numbers with areas codes in the Washington, D.C., area.

"It's fairly easy for people to spoof a number so it looks like it's coming from a particular number and coming from a different place," von Eckartsberg said.

"The scams we've been having have asked people to send currency cards ... to a foreign country.

"We do not have any leads other than phone numbers, but it appears to be originating outside the U.S."

According to the IRS website, taxpayers are not contacted via email or the phone about delinquent taxes; notices are sent through the mail.

Residents should never give out personal information and should call Dublin police at 614-889-1112 if they receive any suspicious calls, von Eckartsberg said.

"The best advice we can give them is any time they receive a phone call or email or any type of correspondence they did not initiate and the party is asking for personal information, they should never, ever give it," he said.

"The IRS is not going to call out of the blue ... . If (the public) ever have any doubts, they can call us or call the IRS," von Eckartsberg said.

"And by no means should anyone be giving money to anybody claiming to be from the IRS. There is not any reason any funds would be sent overseas."

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