Authorities said the case of a Forsyth County man who recently claimed he was the victim of a phone scam that left him out of $20,000 should serve as a reminder to remain vigilant when talking to anyone about transactions over the phone or computer.
The 36-year-old man told deputies he got a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The caller told the man there were active warrants on him and his wife and that they could pay a fine or be arrested.
The man reportedly agreed to go to several locations and send money to this person out of fear of being deported, according to an incident report.
“He was also instructed to keep an active connection while driving from place to place,” the report stated. “By the time the communications between (the victim) and this other person ended, he had sent approximately $20,000.”
Hall County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chad Mann said his department has received “a ton of calls regarding the (IRS) scam,” though only a few of those were from citizens who were actually duped by the scam artists. He added that most who fall prey to such a scam are elderly.
Mann warned that “now that tax refund season is approaching, scammers will be ‘on their game.’”
Phone scams are not a new fad, though they do seem to occur in cycles.
The script varies in details, but the foundation is the same.
Callers identify themselves with a company or agency and offer a way out of a potential arrest or adverse situation by paying a fine via money order or “green dot” card.
Officials advise to never give anyone money over the phone or via money order.
The Forsyth Sheriff’s Office has said in the past that no governmental agency, whether the IRS or local law enforcement, asks residents to pay anything over the phone or with a money order.
Those who suspect they are being contacted as part of a scam should hang up and report the phone number to law enforcement.