Phone Scammer Calls Former Crazy Eddie CFO Sam Antar Not Realizing Who He Called
Tax season may be upon us and like the past few years, phone scammers posing as IRS officials are calling people claiming they owe taxes and that they better pay up. Scammers threaten to arrest or deport people, revoke a license, or even shut down a business. How do they do it? By rigging caller ID information to appear as if the IRS is calling, and sometimes even making a follow-up call claiming to be the police or the DMV.
One scammer got more than he bargained for last summer when he called Sam Antar, who as most people along the east coast of the U.S. know, masterminded the one of the largest ponzi schemes in American history as CFO of Crazy Eddie.
Sam knowing the ins and outs of the justice system when it comes to white collar crime was skeptical when he received a call from a guy with a strong Asian-Indian accent trying to convince him that due to “errors” on his tax returns, a warrant was out for his arrest and the cops were on the way. Yes, the scammer tried to convince Sam the NYPD was on their way to arrest him.
Lucky for the world, Sam recorded the call in order to share it with the world.
As MFI-Miami found out, there are variations of the scam. The caller receives a robocall from “Heather” from the IRS, or calls claiming to be from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration(TIGTA) and mentioning non-existent IRS codes. But the scam always ends by the caller making a demand for money loaded on a prepaid debit card, sent through a wire transfer, or paid by credit card.
If you get a call or email like this, report it. Here’s how:
- Report the incident to TIGTA online or at 800-366-4484.
- File a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. From the complaint homepage, select “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” In the notes, please include “IRS Telephone Scam.”
- If it’s an email, forward it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those emails.
- If you owe — or think you owe — federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
The IRS doesn’t ask people to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and doesn’t ask for credit card numbers over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they do it by postal mail, not by phone. Read Government Imposter Scams for more tips on avoiding a scam.
And what if you got a robocall from Heather or someone else? In addition to reporting it:
- Hang up the phone. Don’t press 1 to speak to a live operator and don’t press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.
- Consider contacting your phone provider and asking them to block the number, and whether they charge for that service. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.