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Official: Madison woman hangs up on 'largest scam we've ever seen' | Crime

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Official: Madison woman hangs up on 'largest scam we've ever seen'
Crime, News
Official: Madison woman hangs up on 'largest scam we've ever seen'

An east Madison woman saved herself from a scam that federal officials called the largest scam of its kind by hanging up the phone Wednesday.

Madison police said a 75-year-old woman who lives on Spicebush Lane received a call from a person claiming to be "IRS Officer Frank Martin" at 9:28 a.m.

The caller told the woman she owed $4,388 in unpaid taxes, but the woman didn't buy it, police said. She told the caller he could contact her through the mail and hung up. She then reported the call to police.

The federal Internal Revenue Service warned citizens earlier this year to be wary of callers claiming to represent the IRS.

In a statement on March 20, J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for tax administration, called the scam alarming and said the department had received more than 20,000 reports of calls totaling a collective loss of more than $1 million.

"This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen," George said in the release. The treasury office listed a few of the common tactics used by the fraudsters.

The fake IRS callers often:

  • Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers
  • Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number
  • Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling
  • Send bogus IRS emails to support their scam
  • Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim

People who receive the scam calls should call 800-366-4484 to report the incident to TIGTA. The treasury inspector's office said the IRS will never request personal or financial information by email, text or social media.

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