IRS scams - they are terrifying, convincing, and happen more frequently than you think. NPR's Alex Goldmark recently interviewed a victim of an IRS scam and the MoneyGram employee who helped her through the incident.
The scam started when the victim received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, stating that she owed back taxes. The scammer then insisted that the police were on their way to arrest her. Sure enough, the woman then received a call from a fake police officer who said that he was on his way to arrest her. Terrified, the victim headed to the ATM and quickly tried to wire money to the scammers using MoneyGram but panicked when the scammer reported that the transfer did not go through.
The transfer was stopped because MoneyGram is taking on scammers by flagging suspicious transfers before damage can be done. Goldmark then played the recording between the victim and Aris, the MoneyGram employee who helped her through the emotional time. In the recording, Aris started off by asking the woman if she personally knew the individuals she was transferring money to and when she replied that she did not, he gently explained that she was being scammed. Torn between two realities, the woman eventually agreed with Aris and hung up on the scammers.
When Goldmark interviewed Aris he stated that "he can get 20 calls like this a day. Sometimes, it takes 30 minutes for the people to snap out of it."
The woman then stated, "When I had the two phones in my hand, I was thinking - it's almost like, which reality do I prefer? And I prefer the reality where they're saving me and my money is somewhere and I'm going to get it back and I'm not being arrested. It was - but it was, like, this flip in my head right at that moment."
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