Phone scam promises back tax refunds

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

BERRYVILLE -- A new phone scam has surfaced that promises a hefty tax refund from the U.S. Treasury Department that was never paid because of a preparer error a decade ago.

Authorities are advising citizens to be wary of such calls -- especially after one local resident was recently targeted.

According to Capt. Alan Hoos, with the Carroll County Sheriff's Office, the resident responded to a message on her answering machine instructing her to call William Bradley with the U.S. Treasury Department to discuss a very important matter.

When she placed the call to Bradley, he told her she was entitled to a sizeable refund dating back to filing periods 1999-2003 because her tax preparer, H&R Block, had some type of glitch in their programming and she did not receive the refunds she was due.

He said she was owed $25,860. The government didn't mail large checks anymore, he told her, and he began asking for personal information, suggesting a direct deposit into her bank account.

When she balked, saying she didn't have an account, he suggested she purchase a $245 "Money Pack Card" at Walmart to give to the courier when he delivered the check to cover processing fees.

Hoos said the resident did not feel comfortable sharing the information and informed Bradley that he should already know the answers if he was truly with the treasury department.

She ended the call and placed one of her own, he said, to the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.

After relating her story to an agent, she was advised it was fraud and Bradley's number should be blocked from her phone.

Hoos said, "if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is."

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