‘Sophisticated’ IRS scam targeting taxpayers in central PA

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Police say scammers are dialing their way across central PA, pretending to be the IRS. And it's happening so much they're trying to get the word out.

"The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you," the message says if you don't answer. "To get more information about this case file, please call immediately."

The Lower Paxton Township Police Department says they're receiving several calls every day reporting the scam. People say the caller threatens them with jail time if they don't pay the money that's supposedly owed immediately.

"We've had a lot of people say it really sounded like it might be an agent," says Lt. Gary Seefeldt. "These kind of things evolved over the years and they are getting a lot more sophisticated."

The calls come from a DC 202 area code, but police say they're hard to track because they're made from spoof phones, and usually from outside the U.S.

"They called my wife up and said they're going to come put her in jail and stuff, she called me at work, of course," says Jeffrey Stiffler of York Township. "She was actually sending emails to the IRS about our tax returns when she got that call."

The IRS says agents will not call unless they first mailed a bill, or demand money without giving an option to appeal the amount. Officials also say they will not threaten arrest or police involvement.

Seefeldt say people who believe the scammer and send money are sometimes too embarrassed to call police, but he encourages them to report it.

"Most of the time, people that fall for them are the ones that can least afford to lose the money," he says.

The IRS also asks that people report impersonation scams on their website.