Edmonds police, Safeway employees save potential IRS scam victim $3,000; caller threatens to kill victim’s daughter

EPDpatch_smThe Edmonds Police Department is alerting area residents of an ongoing Internal Revenue Service fraud scam with a different twist.

According to police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marsh, on Tuesday, Feb. 3  at about 3 p.m., Edmonds police were dispatched to the Safeway store at 23632 Highway 99. Safeway employees became suspicious when a 54-year-old Mountlake Terrace woman came in to purchase $2,400 in prepaid credit cards to pay the IRS for an outstanding tax bill. The victim, who had earlier purchased $3,000 in prepaid credit cards from a different Safeway, had been directed to the Edmonds Safeway by a man who had contacted her by phone regarding an unpaid IRS tax bill. The man told the victim that if she didn’t pay her bill immediately, detectives would come to her house and arrest her.

As officers talked to the woman, the suspect continued to call her, this time using a computer program to display the phone number of the woman’s daughter. “The same caller/suspect now stated that they had the victim’s daughter held hostage and that if the victim didn’t pay the money they would kill her,” Marsh said. Officers quickly determined that the daughter was in no danger and this was just part of the scam. They then confronted the man, who spoke with a heavy accent, over the phone.

“Thanks to the quick thinking of the Safeway store employees and officers on scene, they were able to cancel the previously purchased credit cards the victim had purchased, saving her $3,000,” Marsh said.

It’s unknown how suspect or suspects selected the victim but police said it’s likely that the call came from outside the U.S.  and police have no suspect information.

Police remind citizens that the IRS does not try to collect back taxes over the phone and does not use detectives to enforce tax collection actions. Potential victims should also be aware that returning a call regarding this type of collection message could result in very high long distance charges (up to $50 per minute).

If someone receives such a call, hang up and call 9-1-1. If you have any questions for the IRS, call 1-800-829-1040, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov or contact your local IRS office.

6 Replies to “Edmonds police, Safeway employees save potential IRS scam victim $3,000; caller threatens to kill victim’s daughter”

  1. Unbelievable! I believe the Secret Service will investigate things like this that extend outside the US, though I have no idea of their workload or what kind of resources they have to throw at it.


  2. If you believe you’re a (possible) victim of this scam, please visit http://www.tigta.gov . The Department of the Treasury does investigate all IRS impersonators, foreign & domestic. There’s a big button in the upper right-hand corner of the TIGTA website. This scam is ongoing since approximately April 2014. If the IRS thinks you owe, you’ll receive letters through the mail using the post office.


  3. I received what appears to be the same phone call yesterday. Caller ID listed it as a call from San Francisco. I didn’t answer it but a voice message as left saying things very similar to what was described by this lady. It totally sounded like a scam to me.


  4. There’s a free anti-robo calling service called Nomorobo.com, which blocks most robo-calls. Frontier, which provides our phone service, does not yet offer it. If you want to check into it, go to Nomorobo.com online. Nomorobo will tell you if your carrier offers it. If it doesn’t, it posts the number of your carrier (Frontier in our case). With that you can call customer service and request that Nomorobo (or something similar) be made available. My call to Frontier was quick and efficient, and the followup quality control survey involved only one question. Let’s hope the carriers get lots of requests for this service.


  5. I got these types of calls last year. I messed with the caller who also had a strong accent. He gave me only half hour to get him the money. That’s when I couldn’t keep a straight face anymore and hung up. They called back about 20 times, I never answered.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.