Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015
Contact: Captain Richard Flynn, PIO
Email: [email protected]
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Police Warn Residents of New Telephone Scam Targeting Immigrants
ARLINGTON — Chief Frederick Ryan and the Arlington Police Department would like to alert the community to a new type of telephone scam that struck a resident recently, that appears to be targeting the immigrant community.
Yesterday, a resident fell victim to threats made by caller impersonating a federal agent who demanded that the resident pay funds owed to the government by convincing the victim to get into a taxi, withdraw thousands of dollars from his bank account, and wire the money to the scammer.
The scammer convinced the victim to hand over money by calling attention to the victim as an immigrant and threatening the victim with deportation.
“This a new, particularly concerning type of scam, targeting a vulnerable segment of our population,” Chief Ryan said. “We hope to get the word out, and we want everyone to understand that the government will never call you asking for money, and the IRS never calls demanding immediate payment via an untraceable method like a wire transfer.”
Arlington Police received a report that a resident was contacted on his cell phone, with “emergency call” appearing on the caller I.D., by a person identifying himself as a federal agent. The suspect told the victim he owned money to the government.
A short time later the suspect called the victim and stated federal agents were outside his home and were there to assist him in getting the money he owed. The resident then got into a taxi, while still on the phone with the suspect, who instructed him not to speak to the driver.
The victim was taken to the Saugus Walmart where he made three separate point of sale withdrawals, totaling over $2,500, from his bank account. He then wired the money to the scammer via Western Union. Police determined that at no point did anyone escort the victim into the store, and that it appears all instructions were given over the phone.
The victim is an immigrant, and the scammer specifically threatened him with government action against his immigration status
Arlington police urge that residents NEVER send a wire transfer to someone they do not know and to NEVER purchase pre-paid debit cards to give to an unknown caller. In nearly all cases, once the victim gives away a pre-paid debit card number or makes a wire transfer, the money is gone forever.
“It is extremely unfortunate that this resident became a victim of this scam,” Chief Ryan said. “The Arlington Police Department is actively investigating this case, and we will work with our partners in state and federal law enforcement to pursue all leads.”
“However, far too often, the money sent via a wire service to an unknown third party is lost and cannot be recovered,” Chief Ryan continued. “Therefore, we are actively trying to educate the public so that they do not also fall victim to these sophisticated, intimidating scams.”
If a resident receives a call from an “agent” pretending to be someone from the federal government, like the International Revenue Service, they should immediately hang up and report the incident to police.
Common characteristics of an IRS or “government” scam include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.