IRS scam nets Arlington residents by deceiving caller ID

WASHINGTON — Fraudsters running a scam in Arlington are tricking caller ID to convince residents they are speaking with the Internal Revenue Service or law enforcement to gain access to their money.

Reports from victims say the caller kept them on the phone while they went to load up an iTunes or Visa gift card. They then gave the caller the number on the back of the card to access the funds.

“The IRS is not going to call you,” said Ashley Savage with Arlington Police. “The IRS is going to send you a certified letter through the mail.”

But Savage said she understands that’s an easy thing to forget when a scammer has someone on the phone claiming to be a police officer, sheriff’s deputy or someone with the IRS.

“We also have in some cases the scammers are using transmitters to change the phone number on the caller ID so it’s displaying they’re calling from our nonemergency line,” she said.

Police suggest if residents sense something is odd about the call to immediately hang up and verify the claim by calling the nonemergency police line at 703-558-2222. Never use a phone number provided to you from the caller to verify their credibility.

“Just be smart,” Savage said. “If it sound out of the usual, it probably is. If you’re not expecting a phone call, never give out your personal information.”

Those who believe they are the victim of a scam or were a target can file an online police report. They can also report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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