Snyderville Basin woman cheated out of $30,000
October 4, 2016
One unsuspecting Park City woman was recently scammed out of $30,000 after receiving several aggressive phone calls from someone claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service, according to the Summit County Sheriff's Office.
The woman, who is 50 years old and lives in Park City, contacted the Summit County dispatch center after receiving several phone calls from someone allegedly with the Internal Revenue Service. The caller claimed the woman owed money for back taxes and threatened to arrest her if she did not pay.
According to a report, the woman felt "interrogated" and reluctantly agreed to purchase several iTunes gift cards worth approximately $500 each day for four days. She allegedly bought $30,700 worth of cards before filing a report.
Sgt. Ron Bridge said gift card purchases are typically untraceable, adding that a suspect won't likely be caught. He encouraged the public, especially the elderly community, to be vigilant when receiving questionable phone calls regarding financial transactions.
"When they get these kind of phone calls they need to make sure that they are being wise in their decision making," Bridge said. "If someone calls and says this is their grandchild and they need money they need to make sure it is their grandchild."
Bridge also stressed that the Sheriff's Office would never serve arrest warrants over the phone or be involved with an issue involving a federal entity such as the IRS.
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"In all my 19 years, we have never arrested anyone with back taxes," Bridge said.
According to the IRS website, the government agency will never call to demand payment without first having mailed a bill. The website also states that the IRS does not use "unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue."
The website states that the IRS will never: demand payment without providing an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed; require a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card; ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or threaten to involve local law enforcement officials for non-payment.
While IRS phone scams typically occur more frequently during the tax season in the spring, Bridge cautioned "they can occur sporadically and at any time." However, he said no other similar incidents have recently been reported to the Sheriff's Office.
Lt. Andrew Wright said the Sheriff's Office has placed signs in several businesses warning the public to be aware of scams involving the sale or transfer of gift cards.
"We are trying to help educate and, hopefully, prevent more of this from happening," Wright said. "We are taking every opportunity that we can to make people more aware of scammers.
If anyone receives a suspicious call, they are advised to contact law enforcement at (435) 615-3600.
For more information on tax scams, go to http://www.irs.gov or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
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