PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island attorney general’s office is renewing a warning about fake phone calls from schemers who claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service – a phone scheme Eyewitness News Call 12 for Action first reported months ago.
The IRS inspector general said the phone scheme is the largest the agency has ever seen, and that it has been going on for months with no end in sight.
Halah Touryalai , 31, is a writer at Forbes, and – earlier this month – she became the subject of her own story after she received a phone call from a man claiming to be with the IRS.
“He went into a big thing about there is a warrant for you arrests, we’re seizing your assets,” Touryalai said, adding that the so-called IRS agent said she had an hour to wire thousands of dollars to the agency.
“Once I heard an hour… something didn’t feel right,” she said.
Local resident Bethany Hashway received a similar call. She said she received the call even though she had already paid her taxes in full.
Neither Hashway nor Touryalai wired the requested cash, but the U.S. Treasury Department says thousands of victims across the country have lost a total of more than $1 million as a result of this sceme.
“They’re very savvy,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “They know how to spoof the numbers making it look like… it’s a legitimate number when it’s not.”
Kilmartin said that the IRS always notifies people by mail if they owe money. Also, real IRS agents would never demand payment by wire transfer.