WEST DES MOINES- West Des Moines Police are dealing with an increase of scammers calling and claiming to be with the IRS.
Last Friday, Julia Shebarshov got a call from a New York number while she was working at her job at Wells Fargo. The person on the other end claimed to be an IRS employee, claiming Shebarshov had a legal case filed against her and that she could go to jail if she didn’t cooperate.
After questioning the call, the IRS scammer provided Shebarshov with fake badge numbers, identities, and personal information about Shebarshov’s rental properties and past phone calls. Then they said if she didn’t stay on the line, they would call authorities and she could potentially go to jail for 3-7 years.
"It seemed real for 40 minutes. She was on my case how I had broken laws and she knew our tenants address. They even knew we used Turbo Tax and what version," said Shebarshov.
As Shebarshov took notes, the scammers didn’t mention money at first.
After nearly an hour into the conversation, Shebarshov called her husband in tears to come and help her. When he got on the phone, the scammers asked for more than $5,000 via Money Grams. After questioning that demand, the scammers hung up.
"When we called West Des Moines, they said they’ve got quite a few cases, still even past tax season. They were basically apologizing for the fact we had to go through it,” said Shebarshov.
West Des Moines Police said they've had five calls in the last couple of weeks. They haven't seen as many as tax season in April, but enough that people should be watching out.
"I’m just another person, but even though I’m sitting, sobbing at work and scared, nothing deterred them. They said, “Mam, calm down. You’ll make the conversation worse by crying and they just didn’t stop, ruthless. Vigorous and ruthless," said Shebarshov.
West Des Moines Police Sgt. Brent Kock said federal, state and local authorities will not collect money in that way.
Sgt. Kock said that it’s “frustrating” how aggressive scammers can be. If you think you’re being scammed, be sure to ask a lot of questions and never send anything via pre-paid debit cards or Money Grams.
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