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July 12, 2014

IRS scam strikes area again

MILLEDGEVILLE — Law enforcement officials are still receiving reports of local residents getting swindled out of significant amounts of money from scam artists posing as representatives from the Internal Revenue Service.

A recent incident reported to authorities cost a local resident nearly $16,000.

For several months, a phone scam has been circulating in the area involving a person claiming to be an agent with the IRS.

According to officials, the purpose of the call is to inform the individual of a tax debt that is owed to the IRS, which must be paid as soon as possible.   

"All complainants tell us the same thing. A guy calls saying he's from the IRS and that they owe ‘X’ amount of money that has to be paid immediately to avoid jail or imprisonment," said Det. Kim Khan of the Milledgeville Police Department.

Khan said the agent goes by the name Agent Clark.

Potential victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card: Green Dot Visa or MasterCard.

According to Khan, reports of the tax scam have been surfacing in the Milledgeville area for six months.

Since April, when reports of the scam first started, approximately 45 people have fallen victim to the crime, said MPD’s Maj. Reginald Hill.

"We're still combing through all the reports, so that number may increase as we continue investigating," he said.

In April, the largest amount of money reported by a victim of the scam was around $5,500, however, MPD received a call Wednesday from a city resident reporting having given close to $16,000 to the fraudulent IRS agent.

"The victim reported being told that she owed $15,992 to the IRS and that she had to pay it in order to avoid imprisonment," Hill said. "She then went and purchased multiple Green Dot cards from different pharmacies in the area and filled them up with money."

As police officials continue to investigate all tax scam reports, they remind citizens that the IRS does not contact taxpayers via phone nor do they ask for funds through pre-loaded debit cards.

"If you did actually owe money to the IRS, you'd receive a certified letter and not a phone call," Khan said.

Hill said government agencies like the IRS would not request money to be provided through a Green Dot debit card.

Officials urge anyone who becomes a victim of this scam, or any scam to file a report with a local law enforcement agency. In addition, those who have actually paid money to someone in the tax scam should file a complaint with the IRS as well.

 

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