Rowan Sheriff warns against law enforcement, IRS scam

Published 11:08 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Rowan Sheriff’s officials are warning the community against falling for a scam where the caller pretends to be a sheriff’s deputy who is issuing a warrant for money owed to the IRS.

A resident received such a call this week and he was asked to submit more than $5,000 to the Internal Revenue Service via prepaid debit cards and money grams.

Rowan authorities warn residents that neither the Sheriff’s Office would make such a call, nor would the IRS collect money with gift or debit cards and money grams.

The victim told authorities the caller said he was with the Sheriff’s Office and the victim was wanted by law enforcement. Another caller, who gave the name Shawn Woods, said he was with the IRS and the victim owed $5,500. He informed the victim an acceptable form of payment would be prepaid debit cards.

The victim bought the cards at Office Depot, Walgreens and Walmart, said Sheriff’s Capt. John Sifford.

The victim bought an additional $1,500 through a Money Gram and wired it to New Jersey. The victim was asked to stay on the phone until the transactions were complete.

Sifford said the victim was on the phone from 11:15 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

It was only after the victim hung up the phone did he check the number that he was given to call and learned it was attached to a scam. He contacted his bank and law enforcement.

“The IRS will not call you to ask for money through the use of prepaid debit cards,” Sifford said.

He said the IRS also would not request money be sent to them via Money Grams. The victim is not originally from the United States, but has lived here for about six years and was not aware that the IRS would not call to make such requests.