Scammer calls FOX Carolina's Jennifer Phillips - FOX Carolina 21

FOX Carolina Investigates

Scammer calls FOX Carolina's Jennifer Phillips

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Scammer calls FOX Carolina's Jennifer Phillips. (FOX Carolina/ March 22, 2018) Scammer calls FOX Carolina's Jennifer Phillips. (FOX Carolina/ March 22, 2018)

FOX Carolina's Jennifer Phillips rarely puts herself in a story, but when her phone rang one day, the story just came to her.

"I am not trying to defraud the IRS," Phillips said as she talked to someone on her cell phone.

She says a scammer posing as an IRS agent called and said the IRS just completed a random audit of her taxes and found several miscalculations. 

"The total outstanding balance that you owe the IRS is $8,105.00," the scammer said."The audit was from 2011 to 2017 according to section number 7201. This amount is still outstanding in your name."

Phillips and her photographer, Matt Paxton figured it had to be a scam and recorded the conversation. 

"For this reason we've issued an arrest warrant against you and all your bank accounts like your debit card, your credit card it will be frozen. Your driver's license will be suspended," the scammer said.

Phillips played along and asked questions:

"I need to know how I'm supposed to pay this," she said.

The scammer gave her two options. One option was to dispute the IRS charges.

"In order to file a case against the IRS- to hire a records or criminal attorney, which will be charging from $50-60,000," the scammer said.

The scammer told her the second option was to pay the more than $8,000.

"That means you can resolve this case outside the courthouse without illegal consequences," the caller said.

However, he also said if she didn't pay she would be arrested.

"There is also the possibility for prison ma'am for 5 years," he said.

Vee Daniel, president with the Better Business Bureau says these kind of scams are common during tax season. 

"It's just a scare tactic in order for you to fork over the money," Daniel said.

She's tracked similar tax scams before, but says this is the latest one.

"The IRS will never tell you by phone unless they had notified you- you know what I mean, in writing," Daniel said. "Just knowing your name and your address - anybody can look that up online."

Phillips wanted to share her story so those who live in the Upstate wouldn't become victims.

A tax lawyer told Phillips the IRS can revoke a passport, but not a driver's license because those are state issued.

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