I recently received the following email advising me of this attempted “IRS” scam. Does this sound familiar?

“Hi Chief – When I arrived home after work yesterday, I had a message on my answering machine from someone claiming to be with the IRS. I returned the call for the number given (509-587-3082) and was told by Stu Bob (badge # 205011) that a Federal arrest warrant had been issued for me because of a tax return discrepancy in the amount of $4,856.00 from the 2005 – 2009 tax period. I could avoid being arrested and going to court by paying the amount due.”

“I told him I wanted to avoid the courts and he connected me with Sean Miller to arrange payment. Both men reminded me repeatedly that agents were on the way to arrest me and seize my passport and driver’s license if payment wasn’t made. I told Sean that I wanted some documentation before I agreed to pay. He wanted half of the payment within 45 minutes or I would be arrested. I told him I would be waiting for the agents to arrive with passport in hand. With that, he hung up on me. I don’t imagine there is anything you can do, but I thought I’d pass it along.”

Fortunately, the writer did not panic and called the scammer’s bluff. Unfortunately, even with all the warnings we’ve issued, many individuals are fearful of arrest or other “IRS” action and follow the scammer’s instructions.

As a reminder, here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will they call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

• If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
• You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.


Anyone with questions for the Chief’s Column may submit them by mail to the Brockton Police Department, 7 Commercial St Brockton, MA 02302. You may also email your questions or comments to chief@brocktonpolice.com. Please include an appropriate subject line, as I do not open suspicious email for obvious reasons.

Brenda I. Pérez
Chief of Police