New international phone scam targets San Diegans

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SAN DIEGO – A new phone scam is sweeping through San Diego and federal investigators warn that the people behind it are arrogant and unafraid of the consequences.

FOX 5 recently listened in on a phone call with Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood, whose mission is to bring scammers to justice, as he called a number of a reported IRS scammer. The report stated the scammer called from a Virginia phone number and Caller ID showed it was the U.S. government.

Greenwood dialed the number and a man who called himself "Chris" answered.

"IRS. Can you help me out with your case ID number?" Chris asked Greenwood. When he wouldn't comply, Chris made threats.

"Trust me, I will make your life miserable. Trust me on that one."

Chris warned if he didn't comply with his demands that Greenwood will be arrested.

Greenwood was able to get Chris to admit he's not really with the Internal Revenue Service and that he didn't care that the phone call was being recorded.

"I'm not scared," Chris said. "You're speaking to the person who is running the racket. We don't work for the government."

Within seconds, Chris admits he has no problem ripping people off and had been in the business for six years after one of his relatives was conned.

Greenwood said Chris is most likely running a call center from India or Pakistan with dozens of scammers around him. His arrogance is astounding.

"The only satisfaction I have with this call is that at least I've kept him on the phone for 10 minutes to stop him from calling somebody else or receiving a call from somebody else," Greenwood said.

Greenwood said the worst part is that phone scammers like Chris will never be caught, because the calls are nearly impossible to trace. He offered these words of wisdom:

"Don't be generous," Greenwood said. "Don't be kind. The days of being hospitable are over."

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La Mesa resident Sandy Vinge knows what it is like to be scammed on the phone and in person. She said she is still scared from what happened to her in December 2008.

The 82-year-old was robbed, beaten and kidnapped by vacuum salesman Jeffrey Nelson, who nearly killed her in her living room.

"I turned around and showed him the phone and that's when he choked me," Vinge said.

She was dragged outside, thrown into the trunk of her car and driven around for nearly two days without food or water.

"They were going to bury me out in Campo," she said. "I prayed that either let me die or get me out of it."

Nelson was eventually pulled over for running a red light and sentenced to two life terms.

Vinge has this advice, especially for the elderly, who attend her seminars on senior safety:

"Old people are trusting. We didn't have what we have today," Vinge said. "I hate having to lock my house up, but I have to."

1 Comment

  • elshronda

    I got 6 calls from this scam yesterday starting at 5:00 am. There is a recording that calls you first saying that the “IRS is planning to sue you” and this is your final notice. He was calling from a Spokane WA number (509) 228-3778. Now I’m no law school graduate (Oh wait I am) but the IRS doesnt call from a non-government line, usual bombards you with letters, have to legally notify if they take any legal action against you and they all have identification numbers they ramble off if you can ever get someone on the phone. Lastly, if you ever tried to call the IRS no live person anwers the phone. Since I knew this was a scam, I called back to mess with him. I said I was returning his call and I wanted to hire him be the target at our local shooting range!! We’ll pay for ever center mast shot. Lol…needless to say, he has a little bit of a temper. I might call back to irritate him some more. So much fun. Seriously, just block the number.

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