Massive phone scam targets 20,000 people, authorities say - FOX 13 News

Massive phone scam targets 20,000 people, authorities say

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The largest IRS phone scam in the department's history has now targeted nearly every state.

More than 20,000 people have been called and threatened with arrest, deportation, loss of business and driver's license if they did not pay thousands in back taxes.

Among those people, 80-year-old New Port Richey resident Gwen Jacobs got several calls Thursday night.

"This man with a heavy accent said, 'is this Gwen Jacobs? There is a warrant for your arrest.' And I immediately went 'what?' I'm 80 years old. I've never done anything wrong in my life," she said.

Jacobs hung up the phone.

A man called back, identified himself as "Robert Matthews" with the IRS, and said she owed $1,645.95 from 2008 and $2,145.95 from 2009.

Gwen, who's a retired accountant thought, "wait a minute -- IRS doesn't use cents, they round up to the nearest dollar."

Jacobs' caller ID pinned the call from California.

Moments later, she got another call from the same number -- this time, from someone who claimed to be "Officer Michael Sinclair."

"He had the same accent, almost identical. I told him, 'you sound like the guy that just called telling me about the taxes,' " Jacobs explained.

The number, 760-592-6191, and the name "Robert Matthews" pops up in several others scam claims on the internet.

The IRS warns that real agents do not demand money transfers over the phone or payments by bank draft, credit or debit cards.

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