By Tom Mustin
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a new variation on a familiar phone scam.
In the past month seven residents have reported sending money to bogus callers claiming to be IRS agents. Deputies say the victims have been elderly, and threatened with jail time if they fail to comply.
Richard Kuhn, 88, is hurt and embarrassed.
“I’m feeling very embarrassed I let this happen to me,” he told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
The longtime Parker resident lost $1,000 in a new phone scam targeting the elderly in Douglas County.
“It’s kind of irritating to know that you got scammed,” he said.
On Friday, Kuhn received a call from a man claiming to be with the IRS. The man said Kuhn owed $2,000 in taxes.
“He said I’m calling the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and they’ll be out there a few minutes if you don’t give me this.”
Kuhn had recently filed his taxes, and said the call sounded legitimate.
“I told him I’d come out to the IRS to give them my forms. They said, ‘No, you don’t need to do that, we’ll take care of it right here.'”
The man told Kuhn to make his payment through four iTunes gift cards of $500 each.
“I went down to the CVS store in Parker and got the gift cards,” said Kuhn.
He called the bogus agent back and read the card numbers over the phone He read two of the numbers incorrectly, but the other two went through.
Kuhn called the IRS and the sheriff’s office and both told him he had been scammed. Douglas County Chief Deputy Steve Johnson says the elderly can often be easy targets.
“The most honest, the most trustworthy. That sometimes makes them the most vulnerable. They just want to do the right thing,” said Johnson.
Meanwhile Kuhn is hoping hopes others will learn from his mistake.
“I’m retired and I lost a lot of money. I hope he gets caught someday,” he said.
The sheriff’s office says most of the calls are coming from overseas.
IRS and the sheriff’s office say neither agency will ever contact a person by phone and demand payment. Also, never send any money to anyone unless 100 percent sure of their identity.
Anyone with questions can call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.