Action 9

Victim pays IRS impostor $4,000 in iTunes gift cards

CHARLOTTE, NC — A victim of a common scam was too embarrassed to go on camera, but his mother, Lisa Thomas, was not. She wanted others to know his story.

Like usual with this con, a scammer called, said he was an IRS official, told the victim he owed money, and threatened to arrest him if he didn’t pay right away.

“They wanted him to go to Target and purchase iTunes gift cards. $4,000 worth. $100 each,” Thomas told Action 9.

And he did.

“Because he heard jail. I’m going to jail,” she said. “He has learned a valuable, costly, very expensive lesson.”

Viewers tell Action 9 almost daily that an IRS impostor called, even a Channel 9 cameraman while we were working on this report.

Action 9's Jason Stoogenke called the scammer back. Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Jason: “Obviously you’re not with the IRS. How much money are you trying to scam out of people?”

Scammer: “Just $8,000 sir.”

Jason: “So you’re trying to scam $8,000? You’re admitting that to me right now?”

Scammer: “uh huh. Uh huh.”

Jason: “I’m a TV news reporter and I’m going to put you on the air. Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

Scammer: “Go [expletive] yourself.”

Jason: “Maybe you should stop scamming people.”

Scammer: “No. Why should I?”

Jason: “Honestly, how often does this work?”

Scammer hangs up.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says victims in this state lost $85,930 to this scam since this time last year.

The IRS will not call you, threaten to arrest you, and ask you to pay over the phone using any kind of gift card or prepaid debit card.