A fake IRS agent's scam backfired when he called a Wisconsin police officer, who called him back to expose his scam.
Officer Kyle Roder of the Eau Claire Police Department called the scammer, along with Detective Don Henning, in a video (below) that has gone viral on social media, and gained over 3 million views. Part of Roder's job is helping to educate the elderly about telephone scams, of which fake IRS scams are among the most common, reports the Daily Mail.
At first, the scammer asks Roder for his name and address, when Roder points out an inconsistency in his story.
"But you said you're going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house," Roder points out. "If you don't have my address, how are you going to do that?"
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When Roder asks the man when he will be arrested, the scammer, who has a thick accent, responds that police would come when "working hours are over," reports CBS News.
When the man mentions he will contact Roder's local sheriff's office, the officer gives a sarcastic thumbs up before Henning jokingly pretends to put Roder in handcuffs.
"Can I just go to my local IRS office and do this?" Roder asks the man, before being told that his local office doesn't have his file any more.
"Your case file has been handed to us, because you’re being investigated by our department," the man tells Roder on the phone.
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When the man gives Roder his name, he seemed to have trouble keeping his false identity straight. At first he introduces himself as Officer James Maxwell, before referring to himself as James Johnson.
When Roder presses him on the name issue, the scammer clarifies that he is "James Maxwell Johnson."
Finally, Roder asks the man, "How do I know this isn’t a scam? I see all these things on the news that the IRS won’t call you, they’re just going to send you a letter."
"In some emergency cases we do make phone calls so that we can contact the taxpayer," answers the scammer.
At the video's end, Henning explains that the call is "truly a scam."
"The sheriff’s office does not receive information from the IRS or warrants for citizens based on phone calls like this," Henning says in the clip.
Fake IRS agents and similar scams have reportedly overtaken identity theft as the most common forms of fraud in the U.S., according to data on consumer complaints. The Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel project reported more than 3 million of the IRS debt collection scams in 2016, accounting for 28 percent of the reported complaints.