Darien police warn of IRS phone scam
Darien police are warning residents to be on guard against imposters claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service after a town woman was ripped off last week.
The 54-year-old woman was scammed out of nearly $2,400 by a con artist claiming to be an IRS agent who demanded she pay back taxes and penalties immediately, Darien Police Detective Mark Cappelli said.
The woman wired the money to Orlando, Florida, and was ready to deposit another $6,600 into a fraudulent account before a bank teller at Wells Fargo Bank stopped her, Cappelli said.
The woman received a phone message at home on Sunday, July 5, and returned it July 6, Cappelli said. The man she called back claimed to be named “Peter Morris” and referred to supposed notices of back taxes sent over the past six months.
“He told her if she didn’t pay immediately she’d be subject to arrest and a federal lawsuit, “ Cappelli said.
The con artist told her to go to Wells Fargo Bank to withdraw the $2,359 to pay the fake taxes, Cappelli said.
The man then asked her to deposit another $6,550 into an account to cover back taxes owed for 2013 and 2014, Cappelli said. It was too late to stop payment on the $2,359 Moneygram which had already been collected.
Aggressive telephone calls to collect supposed taxes are cited on the IRS website listing of the most common tax scams. The IRS lists five red flags as signs of a likely scam:
Calls to demand immediate payment, or about taxes owed without first having sent a bill.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to involve local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you are concerned about owing taxes to the government, residents can call 1-800-829-1040 to verify if there is an issue.