Phone scam pretends to be IRS agent, preys on people's emotions

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Phone Call Sent Woman Into a Panic and She's Not Alone

LAKE FOREST PARK, Wash. -- A Lake Forest Park woman says she went into a panic when the IRS agent on the phone said a federal warrant had been issued for her arrest over failure to pay taxes and police would be coming to her house to get her.

None of that was true.

Cara Debley recounted Monday how she had received a message from an alleged IRS agent saying she owed money.

One of the messages started off with, "Hi, this message is intended to contact you. My name is Steve Martin and I'm calling regarding an enforcement action executed by U.S. Treasury and attending your serious attention."

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Phone scam pretends to be IRS agent, preys on people's emotions
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"We have a warrant out for your arrest; there are police officers coming to your house to take you to jail," the message said, according to Debley.

She said the calls at first seemed legitimate.

"There were so many points that it seemed legitimate -- the area code they were calling from; I did have tax problems that year; I had moved so I could have missed the (mail sent to that) address," Debley said.

Luckily, before handing over money or her personal information, she called the IRS and found out the phone call was a scam.

"I am still surprised that I am getting the same calls from the same person or a different person with the same kind of story," Debley said.

So far, she has received 10 threatening voice mails and counting. She isn't alone.

"It's a such a big problem," Lake Forest Park Police Chief Steve Sutton said, adding that they are seeing the same kind of phone scams over and over again.

"Your identity is stolen -- now that's going to be months and months of heartache," Sutton said.

If you get a suspicious call, get online and search the phone number. Often a simple search will tell you right away if it's a scam.

"It's hard to track who is doing it. We can call them back. We have done that, before they hang up on us we track the numbers and it comes back with a false address," Sutton said.

Q13 FOX News tried to track the callers on Monday but all the phone numbers provided to us were disconnected.

It's a frustrating cycle with no end. And Debley hopes her story will help others avoid the headache.

"If I had heard this story, I wouldn't have wasted a day of my life in horrific agony," Debley said.

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