Man records IRS phone scam call in effort to help others avoid rip-off

LITTLETON, Colo. -- A man turned the tables on would-be phone scammers and he’s sharing the details in hopes of preventing others from becoming victims.

“I do have a heart,” the would-be scammer said to Mike Webb in a recorded phone conversation. “I do have a heart.”

It was remorse seeming to come from a would-be scammer. Webb said the scammer was seeking to rip off thousands of dollars from him. He said the caller claimed to be collecting on delinquent payments to the IRS.

“Don’t you feel guilty?” Webb asked the caller.

“I do,” a voice replied. “I do.”

Webb said he took the call on Feb. 29.

“And then when I heard what they're trying to do and how vulnerable people might be to this scam that they're pulling, I kind of just wanted to share it," he said.

In the recorded phone call, a caller is heard asking “do you have good intentions to resolve this case with the IRS?” The voice went on to say “you need to go to the bank and withdraw the amount of $6,300 in cash.”

Webb decided to flip the switch and attempt to scam the scammers.

“My intention was just to waste some of their time, like they were wasting mine,” he said.

Webb initially acted like he would pay up and kept the scammers on the line for close to an hour, calling the number back after every hang up.

He said it sounded like the scammers were gathered in a room, calling as many people as possible.

Lynn Granger, the director of communications with the Colorado Department of Revenue, said she wasn’t surprised.

“We haven't heard of any kind of a group phishing or phone scams,” she said. “I guess it's not really surprising. It's unfortunate that we've come to this point. Fraud is just really prevalent right now.”

As for Webb, he hung up on the apologetic scammer.

“She sounded very remorseful, and that she was sorry for what she was doing, and that it was her only option,” he said.

Webb noted the callers kept using the terms “rules and regulations.” He said that’s something for future victims to watch out for.

If you think you might be on the receiving end of a phone scam, Granger recommends you hang up and check the correct number on its website. Call that number and verify it’s them.