Just as we were closing our story on the grandparent scam for the September/October print issue, the police in the writer’s local community were circulating a warning from the Internal Revenue Service about telephone calls from fake IRS agents. Identifying themselves with phony names and badge numbers, the callers threaten “a slew of repercussions” (jail, deportation, revocation of business or driver’s licenses) if non-existent fines and penalties are not paid. CNN reports that callers had made off with $5 million by mid August. The kicker: Payment must be immediate, and the fake agent advises his victim to rush right out and buy a pre-loaded debit card, like the “Green Dot Money Pak,” or a wire transfer. —Shirley Streshinsky
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