Don't Waste Your Money: Phony IRS caller has scammed victims out of $5 million

(Toledo News Now) - A popular scam this year is showing up again in northwest Ohio, especially Ottawa County. Callers are threatening people with arrest if they don't pay up immediately.

Port Clinton Police say they've received between 50 and 75 calls about the scam in just the past few days.

Now the IRS is issuing a warning the scam, which it says has taken consumers for more than $5 million.

Teresa Weaver recently received a frightening message on her home phone.

"We screen our calls, and we don't answer if we don't recognize the number," Teresa said.

So the scammer left a message:

"I'm calling regarding enforcement actions executed by the U.S. Treasury intending your serious attention."

"He left a message that we had some problem with our taxes, we need to call immediately," Teresa said. "It was very unnerving."

The caller implied that Teresa was behind on her taxes and needed to wire money or she would be arrested and charged.

"Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid initial appearance before a magistrate, judge or a grand jury for a federal criminal offense," the caller said.

Shocked, Teresa looked up the call online, where she learned it's a scam targeting taxpayers from coast to coast.

The IRS says it's been flooded with complaints about these calls. They've identified more than a thousand victims, who the agency says has sent more than $5 million to the scammers so far.

Teresa says she understands how easily someone could fall for the scam.

"If I'm unnerved and I have this knowledge, what about a person that has very little knowledge about taxes, or an older person?" she asked.

The IRS says it will never call and threaten a taxpayer with arrest. If there's a problem with your taxes, they will send you a certified letter in the mail.

Bottom line: Never give money or information to someone over the phone claiming to be from the IRS so you don't waste your money.