NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – 10 On Your Side told you about an IRS phone scam sweeping the country on Monday. Now Newport News police say a new twist in the scam targeted a local woman.
Police said the callers are getting more aggressive with victims. It’s called Swatting — if you don’t pay what they want, the scammers call a SWAT team to your house.
“I had no idea what was going on,“ said Newport News resident Dee Dean.
Dean drove into her neighborhood Monday night to find it crowded with police officers. She saw a SWAT team with guns drawn.
“I spoke to one of the policemen and he said, ‘oh, there is a lady hurt in one of the homes,'” Dean told WAVY.com. “I said, ‘which house?’ I realized it was my home. I said, ‘there is no female in there. The only lady that was in the house was me.’“
Police received a 911 call Tuesday evening and were told there was a woman in the home on Churchill Lane who had just been shot. The caller said someone was holding the woman hostage. Police responded to the 911 call as though it were real, but it turns out it was hoax. Both Dean and detectives think they know why.
Listen to the full 911 call in the audio player below:
“I didn’t pay [the scammers] money, and in retaliation they took my phone number and called the police department and said that somebody was shot in my house,“ Dean said.
Last week, Dean got a call from someone posing as the IRS and said she owed money. Monday, she was about to pay when she figured out it was scam.
“What made me fall for it was when they started saying ‘your credit rating is going to go down if you don’t pay,'” Dean said. “They also said I was going to go to jail.”
The IRS says this scam is sweeping across the country. More than 1,100 people have become victims, totaling $5 million in losses.
Police say the scammers used a process called “spoofing,” meaning they were able to use technology to make it appear as if the 911 call was coming from Dean’s home.
Police are trying to track where the call actually came from, but they know it won’t be easy. Many times the calls are coming from out of the country.