OCALA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - It's tax time, and according to law enforcement, there's a phone scheme based on tax season that you need to watch out for and be prepared.
Gary Medcalf, 72, says last Thursday afternoon he was sitting at his table doing homework for his online classes, when the schemers called him, claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. "I owed $3,000, according to their records. Did I intentionally defraud the government, or was this an accident? I said, 'Oh my God, I'm 80 years old, don't see well, maybe I made a mistake and didn't add it right.'"
But Gary knew he did not make a mistake. He said he was conning the callers, because they were trying to con him. He said he knew it was a scheme at the beginning of the call, when the caller asked Gary to spell his name. "I spelled it oddball for them, and then all of a sudden, they came up and said, 'Here, we have your records Mr. Medcalf.' And I'm going, 'What a sucker they must think I am?'"
But Mr. Medcalf is anything but a sucker. While the caller was on the phone, he walked to a back room, so he could put the phone on speaker while he grabbed his cell phone and went outside to the deck to call police so someone could trace the call, but no one did.
Gary didn't fall prey, but Ocala Police told him others have. This phone scheme is widespread right now. So much so, New Smyrna Beach Police and the Flagler County Sheriff's Office have asked us to warn you not to become a victim.
Remember, the IRS will not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment.
- Call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
- Demand you pay in a certain way.
- Ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
If you think you were targeted by these schemers, you can report it online to the Treasury Department or the Federal Trade Commission.