Officer Eric Roder said he received a voicemail on his phone on Tuesday morning from a man purporting to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service. The message was urgent and claimed that he had an outstanding balance and could be arrested if he did not call back.
Suspecting that it was a scam, Roder called the number back with the camera rolling.
As the conversation ensues, holes in the fake IRS representative’s story become clear. The man on the phone, who switches his name between James Johnson and James Maxwell, asks Roder for his address.
“You said you’re going to issue a warrant for me and come to my house, but if you don’t have my address how are you going to do that?” asks Roder.
As Roder keeps pushing for more details about the supposed arrest warrant, the scammer appears to use enough of the correct legalese that it could scare an unwitting citizen.
“Sadly people fall for this type of scam because they just don’t know about them and the scammers can be extremely persistent and aggressive,” said Public Information Officer Bridget Coit, who filmed Roder’s phone call.
Coit explained that the Eau Claire jurisdiction has seen a large spike in similar telephone and tax scams and warns that the IRS does not act with such urgency as Roder’s scammer suggested.
Coit explained that the scammer sensed that Roder was onto their act and eventually hung up on them. She said that they could not follow up on the incident as money was never transacted to the scammer.
She noted that just this morning, another officer received a similar threatening call.
“We wanted the public to see that our officers do get targeted and these calls truly are scams, even if they seem somewhat legitimate,” said Coit. “We wanted to really educate our public and show our officers are human, too.”