IRS phone scam targets people in Portland, one victim loses $12,000


An IRS scam is targeting people in Portland, and one victim lost $12,000.

Portland police said they have received recent reports of a scam involving phone calls from someone claiming to be from the IRS.

The caller demands money for back taxes, threatening jail time if the caller doesn't follow through with a payment.

In one case in August, the victim received a voice mail from a person claiming to be from the "Tax Fraud Department" of the IRS. The person who received the call did not call the number back and reported it to police.

However, in a second case in early September, the victim lost thousands of dollars.

Police said in that case, the victim received a call claiming to be from a "federal crimes investigator" with the IRS.

The caller said the victim owed money from back taxes and if she didn't pay up, police would come and take her to jail.

The woman told police she was suspicious, but the caller convinced her to go purchase MoneyPak reloadable cards and call back with the account numbers.

The scammer stole $12,000 from the victim.

Milwaukie police said they received 40 complaints in one day this week from someone claiming to be from the sex crimes unit of the IRS in a very similar scam.

Police say other similar scams involve callers claiming to be from utility services or other government agencies.

Tips to help avoid becoming a victim to this scam include:

Never give personal or financial information to an unsolicited caller or email.

Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.

Utility companies and government agencies will never contact you for payment by GreenDot, MoneyPak or Vanilla Reload.

Remember that anyone who has the number on a prepaid card has access to the funds on your card.

Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers to a stranger.

MoneyPak/Green Dot and Vanilla Reload have online tools to allow purchasers to request a refund if the scammer has not yet cashed the card. More information is available at and

If you are the victim of a scammer with a financial loss, you're encouraged to call police. In Portland, the non-emergency line is 503-823-3333.

Resources are available for consumers to avoid becoming victims of scams and fraud at the Oregon Department of Justice:

Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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