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IRS scam hits Dauphin County

Updated: Friday, March 21 2014, 10:54 PM CDT
Written by: Kyle Rogers (JKRogers@sbgtv.com)

HARRISBURG -- A Dauphin County man said he's one of more than 20,000 taxpayers who have been targeted by fake IRS agents. A government watchdog said the largest phone scam is the largest the agency has ever seen.

Pedro Ortiz of Steelton said he received a voice mail from somebody claiming to know his name, address, and personal information.

Around 3:00p.m. on Friday, Ortiz called the so-called IRS agent after the man on the voicemail said it was an urgent, legal matter.

"'You evidently lied on your taxes,'" the voice told Ortiz. Citing tax data from 2007 and 2008, Ortiz was told he had owed $5,000. He was concerned since the man knew he and his wife's full name and home address.

"I said 'Sir, listen, I'm not a thief. I'm a Christian man and I worked all my life to pay my taxes and pay my bills,'" Ortiz said.

Ortiz said the man's tone then changed but he was warned that police officers were on their way to his home to arrest him if he did not pay.

Similar stories played out throughout the country. While Ortiz never wired any money after figuring the call was a scam, IRS officials said there have been victims in nearly every state.

In some cases, victims who refuse are threatened with arrest, deportation or losing their business or driver's license.

Ortiz said he was told his life would be over and he would never see his family.

But, the Steelton man worries others will fall victim to the scammers. Admittedly a strong person, the call concerned him and his family enough for him to believe it was real. He felt violated.

"He was persistent," said Ortiz.

An IRS spokesperson said real IRS agents usually contact people through mail and that agents would never demand payment by debit card, credit card, or wire transfer.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report.
IRS scam hits Dauphin County


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