Retired Chatham County Sheriff’s Department deputy Richard King received a phone call at his Hinesville residence he thinks the public needs to be aware of.
So King made phone call of his own, dialing up the Courier on Friday morning to relate the following story:
A man using a Chicago number and claiming to an Internal Revenue Service called King’s number Friday and left a message on the answering machine.
King called him back.
“He claims to be an officer Jerry Hunt of the IRS and said the IRS is filing a lawsuit against me,” King said. “He wanted me to verify my name, which I did, and then address, and I told him ‘you don’t need me to verify my address, because if you’re with the IRS< obviously you already have it.’ He started to say something else, and that’s when I informed him I was a retired deputy sheriff. Before I could say anything else, he hung up.”
King could’ve let the matter rest there, but being in law enforcement sometimes means you don’t let things slide.
He used the internet to track down the number, which belonged to a man living at South Spaulding Avenue address in Chicago. King then called the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which in turn referred him to the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, which investigates such frauds.
King filed a report. He also called the Hinesville Police Department to let them know about the call.
King said he took the time to report the crime because he was concerned that some people not be able to sniff out such a scam, which, unfortunately, are a dime a dozen these days. Whether it’s someone pretending to be a local law enforcement officer and claiming you missed jury duty and you’ll go to jail if you don’t fork over money or, like the man who called King, a fake IRS agent claiming you’re about to be sued if you don’t send money, these type of leeches are everywhere.
King even said some of these scams help fund groups such as ISIS and gangs.
“Me, I picked up on it with no problem given my background in law enforcement,” King said. “But there are a lot of the elderly in our area who might not recognize it as a scam. And some people might be gullible enough to give them a credit card number or send them money.”