IRS scam artists target Jacksonville area

Woman calls police after receiving call saying she owed thousands of dollars

By Ashley Harding - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Imagine getting a call from a stranger claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, telling you that you owe a large amount of money and if you don't pay up, you're heading to jail. That's what happened to one local woman who was wise enough to call police right away and not hand over any cash.

Financial advisers are urging people in the Jacksonville area to be aware and be ready to call the scammer's bluff.

Channel 4's Ashley Harding spoke to the victim who said she is still very shaken up. Not only did the scammer know her name and her personal information, he knew things about her family and even her children.

News4Jax is identifying the woman only by her first name, Jaymie, but she does wants everyone to know what it was like Friday when she received a call from a would-be scammer.

"I got a phone call saying that they were the IRS and that they'd been trying to find me," said Jaymie. "They'd been trying to find me, that they had tried to serve papers twice to me. And I owed the IRS $11,526. They said that they had done an audit between 2003 and 2012."

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The man on the other end of the line told Jaymie that if she didn't come up with roughly half that amount by the end of the day, she would be arrested for tax fraud.

Jaymie took extensive notes as she listened. The man gave her a fake name and even a badge number with the IRS, and told her he'd call her back in three hours. She was shocked by what he told her next.

"Don't tell anyone what you -- what we've told you because it's considered third-party," Jaymie said.

Jack Leone is a certified public accountant. He said several of his clients fell victim to the same scam Friday, including his own mother-in-law.

"My first client that called me to tell me about this said the exact same thing," said Leone.

Leone said it is important to know how the IRS works.

"They will send a piece of correspondence via the mail, either certified or regular mail. Or if you're not responding to those after months they will show up at your door," said Leone. "But they will never email you or ever call you."

Leone told News4Jax if you are contacted by one of these con artists, the thing to do is to not give any personal information and to not prolong the phone conversation. If you're tempted to tell the scanner that you know it's a scam, you can do that.

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