A Wisconsin police officer was clearing out his voicemail inbox this week when he got an interesting message from a man who claimed to work for the IRS saying he would be arrested if he failed to call back.
Assuming the person was attempting to scam him, Eau Claire Police Department Officer Kyle Roder decided to call back and use his interrogation skills to expose the con man’s tactics, recording the entire exchange.
“Hello, is this the IRS?” Roder opens the call by asking. “It said to call this number, it said I had committed a fraud or something?”
The scammer replies, “Yes,” then asks for a case number. When Roder says he wasn’t given one, the “agent” says he can look Roder up by his address.
“But you said you’re going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house,” Roder says. “If you don’t have my address, how are you going to do that?”
He also asks how much time he has before he is arrested, which caused the man to waffle a bit before replying, “Until our shift is over.”
“This is James Maxwell and I’m holding a badge number of ML0544501221, that’s my badge number.”
When Roder grabs a pen and asks him to repeat the number, however, the phony agent says, “This is James Johnson.” When Roder catches him giving a different name, the man tries to cover up by saying, “James Maxwell Johnson, sir.”
Contrary to the man’s claim that Roder was hours from being arrested, the department says they don’t get arrest warrants from the IRS.
Roder recommends that anyone who receives a similar call refrain from engaging the caller and just hang up. The police department decided to post video of the call, which has been viewed millions of times, to educate people.
See the IRS website for more information on this and other tax-based scams.