Boone County residents being called by scammers claiming theyre IRS

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COLUMBIA - Multiple people in Boone County said they have been contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS and saying they owe money.

One Columbia resident said his mother, who is 93 years-old and lives alone, received a phone call last Wednesday from who she believed to be the IRS. 

"She was in tears," he said. "The IRS called and said they're going to audit us. I don't understand what's going on. She gave me a number and I called it."

The man, who asked KOMU 8 News to remain anonymous, said he tried the call the number back, and called the actual IRS, with no success. He then listened to a voicemail the scammer left his mother. 

"There was this clear distinct voice saying, 'this is your third and final notice," he said. "'You are being audited, being served papers and you're going to be arrested for not paying your taxes.'" 

He called the number back the following Monday and spoke with two people before being connected someone saying they were a supervisor. 

"An official person that answered the line saying "this is the IRS, who are you,'" he said. "I told them my name. I went through a series of two people. The supervisor was really slick. He pressured me and man, I'm an adult and I fell for that. He said 'you have about 20 minutes to get this money in to us, otherwise you and your mother will be served papers. They are at the sheriff's office now.' They put the fear of god into you. Boy I fell for it."

The scammer asked him to go to Walgreen's or Walmart and get what he called an "Apple IQ" card.

The scammer said the man's mother owed $9,000, but that the IRS would take $2,000. 

The resident said, once he was in a parking lot at Walgreens, he realized he was being scammed and called the Boone County Sheriff's Department. 

Det. Tom O'Sullivan said governmental agencies usually contact people by certified mail. 

"The important thing for citizens to understand is that governmental agencies, be it the Boone County Sheriff's Department, the Internal Revenue Service, Boone Electric, whoever, we do not call people asking them for debit and credit card information, or instructing them to go purchase a money card, or green-dot card in order to pay off a debt," O'Sullivan said. 

The Columbia resident said he fell for the scam because he hadn't filed his mother's taxes this year. 

A Boone County resident, Chris Bailey, said she was contacted twice by people saying they were from the IRS. 

Bailey said the voicemails left on her phone said she was being sued by the agency.

Bailey tried to return the phone calls, but the number was disconnected. 

The sheriff's department said it couldn't do anything because the scammers are either from out-of-state or the country and the number cannot be tracked. 

"The one thing I want people to remember, governmental agencies do no operate in this manner," O'Sullivan said.