It started with phone calls asking for personal information. Next, the conversations quickly became threatening. Now, one Damascus woman is turning to local and federal authorities for help.
“It will call and say that they are the Internal Revenue Service, that I'm being arrested for tax evasion and fraud,” said Brenda Wieder.
That was the first red flag for her.
“And then they say that they have a warrant out for my arrest and if I don't answer and respond within the next 24 hours, someone will be coming to my home,” she said.
That was the next red flag.
“At the very end, they say have a blessed day and that doesn't sound like our IRS,” Wieder said.
She told us the calls started at the beginning of tax return season and never stopped. She receives up to four calls weekly, and recently, the IRS imposter turned violent.
“I said, ‘Where are you? I know you're trying to scam money, but why are you threatening?’” said Wieder. “I said, ‘Are you part of ISIS?’ I even asked him that and that's when he started chanting, ‘Death to America, death to America. You will all die. We will kill. We will overrule your country. It got very, very heated and I started feeling frightened at that point.”
She called police and is now filing a police report.
“We have not had any cases where a victim has been hurt or any of the threats have actually come true because they didn't make a payment,” said Montgomery County Police Department Lieutenant Jennifer McNeal.
But McNeal said she has heard of this happening. She said scammers target vulnerability.
“Usually it's to some type of vulnerable person,” said Lt. McNeal. “Sometimes the elderly, sometimes somebody not familiar with our culture, somebody who doesn't speak English.”
But Wieder is none of the above.
She has a family member who works for the federal government. She is concerned the IRS imposter incident is connected to the recent hacking attacks on federal employees.
Police say if someone gets a call from a person purporting to be with the IRS, they advise people to hang up, not engage in conversation and call police.
More information from the IRS on phone scams: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Phone-Scams-Continue-to-be-Serious-Threat-and-Remain-on-IRS-Dirty-Dozen-List-of-Tax-Scams-for-the-2015-Filing-Season