Farmington area residents took to social media over the weekend to complain about phone calls threatening them with jail and other consequences unless they paid up.
The rash of calls, which came from all over the country and overseas, even hit Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. In a Friday press release, he warned residents about the scam, which aims to shake people down over non-existent tax debts.
A county investigator who got a similar call minutes after Patterson returned the call, using a fictitious name and social security number. When he was told he owed $8,000, the investigator asked if he could pay $4,000 of the debt. When the scammer said he would see if that was a possibility, the investigator identified himself as a law enforcement official, and the scammer hung up.
“This is a fraud,” Patterson said. “This isn’t how the IRS operates. The IRS will never, never make a phone call and threaten to send an agent to your home to arrest you. They will always send a letter explaining any issue or dispute they have.”
A visual voicemail screenshot posted Friday by Farmington Citizens For Safety & Crime Prevention showed the text of another threatening call.
That post and a share on the Farmington Voice Facebook page got dozens of comments, with many people reporting multiple calls during the day.
“I get this call all the time,” Elizabeth Schulz said. “I keep blocking the numbers and they just use another one. Listening or reading the grammatically incorrect message is a dead giveaway.”