Edmonds police warn of ongoing scams victimizing residents

Sgt. Mark Marsh has tips for avoiding get-rich-quick schemes.
Sgt. Mark Marsh has tips for avoiding scams.

The Edmonds Police Department sent out a warning Friday to “citizens and the general community” of an ongoing fraudulent scam that has victimized Edmonds residents. Here’s the information, per an Edmonds PD news release. (Also check out our August 2014 Edmonds Today video interview with Sgt. Mark Marsh — linked to the photo above–  with general tips about how to avoid being a scam victim).

Several times in the past couple of weeks, elderly citizens have received phone calls from persons claiming to be IRS agents. The people claiming to be IRS agents threaten to arrest the victim unless they immediately pay the “agents” for back taxes that are owed. The suspects in this scam direct the elderly victim to a local store and in the cases the Edmonds Police are investigating, to a Rite Aid store. The suspects tell the victim to purchase several Green Dot Money Pak cards. The victims are told to purchase the cards with each card not being more than $500 per card. The victims will buy several cards with the total being worth thousands of dollars. The suspects will also have the victims use their cell phones to communicate with them during the transactions in the guise of walking them through the transaction but monitoring the conversation so that the victim does not alert a store clerk to what the purchase is for. The suspects will then have the victims read the account numbers off of the card to the “agent” to pay their alleged overdue tax bill. This money is then transferred to an unknown account.

Edmonds Police have had one case where a victim lost $9,300.00 and another that lost $1,300.00 in this scam.

This is only one version of an ongoing scam. Other scams include a suspect calling a victim, usually an elderly person, claiming to be a police officer, attorney or jail guard. The “officer” will then say that their grandson, nephew or other relative is in jail and needs bail money to get out. The suspects will use the same Green Dot Money Pak card procedure to get the victims money.

If you or anyone you know of has been a victim of this type of scam you are encouraged to call 9-1-1 and file a report with your local police department.

2 Replies to “Edmonds police warn of ongoing scams victimizing residents”

  1. There seems to be a current spike in phone fraud. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a string of scam calls to my Edmonds residential landline from people who claim I’m being charged by a grand jury for “failing to appear before a magistrate,” claim they’re with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and start quizzing me about health issues, want me to point my computer browser to a weird website to “rid it of infections,” etc. The area codes on my telltale are from all over the country, and usually these guys speak in such heavily accented English that they’re hard to understand. The pitches are all ridiculous on their face, but I worry that if they weren’t taking some people in, some of the time, they wouldn’t keep coming.


  2. As a tax professional, I would like everyone to know the IRS NEVER contacts taxpayers by phone the 1st time they reach out about a tax issue. The only time they call is after they and the taxpayer have written back & forth & the taxpayer has given them permission to call.

    If you think it is a real IRS call, have them call your preparer to discuss the situation. If you do not have a preparer, tell the caller (again only if you think this is a legit call) that you are going to contact a professional to represent you.

    If you feel this is a bogus call, hang up & call 911.

    Chris Fleck
    Enrolled Agent
    Puget Sound Tax Services


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