Viral MPD video warns against IRS scams

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MIDLAND -- It’s a video with more than seven million views and more than 200,000 shares on Facebook and one Midland Police Officer is behind it.

The video is an attempt to warn the public of scammers during tax season.

“Hey, is this the IRS Office,” Officer Daniel Stief said. Yes, this is the IRS Office,” the scammers said.

“There is illegal allegation and a lawsuit has been filed against you by the IRS Department. The total amount outstanding in your name is $8,140,” the scammers said. “Are the police looking for me right now – should I be worried about that,” Stief said.

In his almost 10 year career with the Midland Police Department, Officer Daniel Stief thought he’s seen and heard it all until the 30-minute attempted scam session happened.

“Okay, so if I don’t do this in 45 minutes what happens?” Stief said. “Then the Sheriff Officer will come and arrest you,” the scammer said.

Urgency is considered a red flag when it comes to scammers on the other end of the line.

“They always use urgency – that one was extremely urgent. 45 minutes, I was like, wow,” Stief said.

These scammers didn’t even ask for a Money Gram or a check, instead they asked for a different kind of payment – an Apple gift card.

“How do I pay this money, so the cops won’t come and arrest me? How do I pay you guys?” Sir, you need to rush down to an Apple store,” the scammers said.

“This wouldn’t be as big of an issue if we didn’t all fall for it, but a lot of people do fall for these scams,” Stief said.

MPD hopes the video that unexpectedly went viral, will provide a warning during this tax season.

“We never expected that, I was going to be happy with you know, 8 to 10,000 views,” Stief said.

Now Officer Stief is known around the world.

“My brother sent me a text message saying he wants an autograph and I said these days, I charge $10 per picture,” Stief said.

The number was traced back to California with a 408 area code.

If someone calls, claiming you owe them money, do your research. Get the name of the company or agency and then hang up the phone. Do not call the number back, instead research the company or entity who claims to be on the other end of the line and call them back directly.