EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — After a man pretending to be an IRS agent left a threatening voicemail for a Wisconsin police officer, the department decided to call back.
In the Facebook video of the exchange, officer Kyle Roder calls the number and asks, “Hello, is this the IRS? It said to call this number, you said I had committed a fraud or something?”
The scammer, unaware he’s about to be scammed, asks for a case number. When Roder says he wasn’t given one, the “agent” says he can look Roder up by his address.
“But you said you’re going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house,” Roder says. “If you don’t have my address, how are you going to do that?”
He also asks how much time he has until his arrest, to which the man replies, “Until our shift is over.”
The would-be swindler’s attempt to scare Roder into wiring money gets even less convincing when he offers to identify himself with his name and government badge number.
“This is James Maxwell and I’m holding a badge number of ML0544501221, that’s my badge number,” he said.
When Roder grabs a pen and asks him to repeat the number, however, the phony agent says, “This is James Johnson.”
When Roder catches him giving a different name, the man tries to cover up by saying, “James Maxwell Johnson, sir.”
Contrary to the man’s claim that Roder was hours from being arrested, the department says it doesn’t get arrest warrants from the IRS.
Roder recommends that anyone who receives a similar call refrain from engaging the caller and just hang up. The police department decided to post video of the call, which has been viewed millions of times, to educate people.
The IRS website has more information on this and other tax-based scams.