It seems some people are willing to do anything to be able to download a copy of Prince’s Purple Rain.
On Thursday, a U.S. Treasury watchdog issued a brief warning to taxpayers of a new scam making its way around the country in the wake of Tax Day.
The office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said it had gotten word that callers impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees or the Treasury Department “are demanding payments on iTunes Gift Cards.”
Yes, you read that right.
While it might seem obvious to some that the IRS would never ask for payment in the form of iTunes gift cards, older people who don’t know what those cards are might not be immune to the scam.
Two elderly women in Florida were targets of the scam and collectively lost $700. In both cases, the caller claimed to be with the IRS and said that the women owed back taxes and would be sent to jail if they didn’t pay.
Once the gift cards were purchased, the women were instructed to call the scammer back with the serial number so the funds could be accessed.
The phenomenon isn’t limited to the U.S., either. A woman in Calgary, Canada, was swindled out of more than $15,000 after she fell prey to the scheme. Thankfully, a relative intervened before the woman was fleeced any further.
The inspector general urges anyone who receives a similar call to immediately hang up and report the call on the watchdog’s scam reporting page. The IG also advised that scammers may also request payment via Green Dot Prepaid Cards, MoneyPak Prepaid Cards, Reloadit Prepaid Debit Cards or other similar cards.
The watchdog noted that no legitimate Treasury or IRS official would demand that payments via Western Union, MoneyGram, bank wire transfers or bank deposits be made into another person’s account for any debt to Uncle Sam.