The Ithaca Police Department says they’ve received reports of “phone scams involving someone pretending to be an IRS agent while claiming the victim owed a ‘College Tax,’” and they urge area residents to beware of such calls.
According to a release from IPD:
In this particular scam the caller states that the victim owes money for an unpaid “College Tax” and that he/she must pay it during the phone call or face arrest. The victim is also instructed not to tell anyone about the phone call, and is guided through the process on how to make payment via gift cards or store green cards. One victim spent over 6 hours on the phone getting over 25 gift cards together from multiple stores to pay the “College Tax”. These phone calls, and so many other similar types of scams wherein payment is demanded to be made over the phone right then and there, are scams.
“Please be vigilant when discussing your finances, especially over the phone,” warns acting chief of police Pete Tyler in a statement. “Error [sic] on the side of caution and hang up immediately if you believe you are being scammed.”