AG's Office Reports Spike In Phone Scams

Tuesday, February 14th 2017, 10:18 pm
By: News 9

As Oklahomans get ready to file taxes, phone calls from fake IRS representatives are rampant, according to the Oklahoma attorney general’s office.

A metro resident told News 9 he got two calls in less than two hours from scammers, and an eerie voicemail. The computerized message said, in part, “If you don’t return the call and if I don’t hear from your attorney either, then the only thing I can do is wish you good luck as this situation unfolds on you.”

The resident knew better right away than to fall for the ploy, and he reported it to authorities at the Oklahoma County sheriff's office -- which is exactly what the crooks behind the calls do not want to happen.

“What these criminals are preying on and hoping for is the panic,” said assistant attorney general and consumer protection unit chief Julie Bays.

Bays said most IRS scammers are so bold because they don't think they'll get caught. Many of them are based overseas, she added.

But four months ago, the U.S. Department of Justice and authorities in India arrested at least 70 people in a call center, who allegedly told American victims they owed back taxes, according to CBS News.

“If the scammers quit getting money out of this scam, it will stop. And the only way to do that, to truly do that, besides going overseas and arresting these crooks, is to educate the consumer so that they don’t fall for it,” she added.

To avoid becoming a victim, Bays said do not answer your phone for a number you don't recognize. Also, know the IRS will never contact you by phone, it will always be on an official document by mail.