Elderly man falls victim to IRS phone scam

DOWNEY – Downey Police are warning the public to be cautious after an elderly Downey man was swindled out of $30,000 last week. 

The victim received a phone call at about 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 17 from a man who represented himself as an IRS agent. The scam artist claimed the victim owed $30,000 in back taxes and would be arrested if the balance was not paid. 

The victim made deposits into two different bank accounts, authorities said. After making the deposits, he called the IRS and discovered that he had been scammed. 

“This is just one of many schemes that have been employed by conspiring criminals,” the police department said in a statement. “Although the ruse is common, it continues to be a lucrative one. The suspects often target the elderly and take advantage of their trusting nature.

“Whatever the scam, the public can avoid falling victim by using caution when dealing with unknown subjects calling via the telephone.” 

The police department offered the following tips: 

•Never give personal information to anyone over the phone, including bank account numbers, PINs, or Social Security numbers; 

•No government agency will ever ask for a money order, gift card or money transfer; 

•If you are solicited by telephone, ask to be mailed information about the charity’s purpose, goals and finances before making any donations; 

•Hang up the telephone on aggressive or harassing solicitors; 

•Don’t give cash. Make checks out to the charitable organization, not the person asking for the donation. Never give your credit card to a solicitor; 

•Be wary of a solicitation that includes an offer to send a courier to your house to immediately pick up your donation.