IRS phone scams, where the perpetrators call up victims and demand that overdue taxes that they don’t owe be paid by prepaid debit cards, are cruel schemes that vacuum millions of dollars out of the pockets of people who don’t know any better. The only way they could be worse would be if they actually endangered victims’ safety while wasting law enforcement time and taxpayer money. They’ve figured out how to do this.
You may be familiar with SWATting, a prank that consists of calling emergency services and reporting an armed and dangerous criminal at the target’s address. The goal is to prompt local law enforcement to send their Special Weapons and Tactics Teams to raid the person’s home. This is especially hilarious if the target is broadcasting live online at the time.
When you combine these two blights on humanity, you get what happened to a family in Colorado Springs this week: scammers frustrated that their target wouldn’t pay up called emergency services to make their threat of imminent arrest for not paying back taxes more realistic. Police surrounded the target’s house while his 20-year-old daughter was home alone.
Twin calls from the scammers to 911 variously said that someone inside was threatening people with a gun, and that there were armed men outside of the house asking for money. When the house phone rang, the daughter said, “this guy answered in a really weird accent and he said that my dad was under arrest.”
Here’s a recording of one of the calls, between the alleged scammer, the sheriff’s department, and the 911 representative. “There’s kind of a language barrier,” a confused dispatcher with the sheriff says on the recording.
Eventually, the family and local police straightened out the situation, and now the FBI is on the case of finding the scammers. Fortunately, no one sent any money, and no one was hurt during a police raid.
Did this expand your brain with knowledge? We’re a non-profit! You can get more stories like this in our twice weekly ad-free newsletter! Click here to sign up.