Telemarketing scheme nearly dupes local man out of thousands

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PITTSBURGH - Channel 11 News has yet another warning for our viewers after a scam began making its way around involving a suspicious call from a person claiming to be from the IRS.

Channel 11’s Katherine Amenta talked with Carl Truss about the phone call he never expected to receive.

“I knew it was a scam, but you have no idea what these people are capable of doing,” Truss said.

Truss said he was with his grandson when he got the call.

“They said, ‘I’m an agent with the IRS. We found out you defrauded the government out of $5,000, and there’s a warrant out for your arrest. We’ll be picking you up within the hour,’” Truss said.

Truss said he thought a minute but then took his grandson home and called the number back for more instructions.

“They said, ‘You have to go to a bank and withdraw X amount of dollars,’” Truss said.

Truss said he went to a local bank and was planning on withdrawing some money, but he happened to run into a helpful friend of his. That friend happened to be a Pittsburgh police officer.

Truss said his officer friend told him the calls were bogus and it was a scam.

Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania, told Amenta the organization has seen similar schemes before.

According to King, consumers lose $40 billion per year to telemarketing schemes.

“The IRS is never going to call you up on the phone and ask you to pay your taxes,” King said.

Truss said he filed a police report, but he realizes these criminals are hard to catch.

“Please don’t give out any personal information over the phone. Contact the police,” Truss said.