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Scammers are posing as IRS agents demanding bitcoin payments

In Seattle scammers are posing as IRS agents demanding Bitcoin payments

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by Tammy Mutasa, KOMO

SEATTLE (KOMO) - Seattle Police are warning about a modern twist on an old scam of someone posing as an IRS agent, demanded payment through Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a type of digital currency transferred between people online without using a bank.

Investigators said the new form of money is a new target for scammers.

Police said one victim got texts from a bogus IRS agent demanding he pay $2,560 in overdue taxes using Bitcoin, or the fake agent would call police.

"That's our fear right,” said Detective Patrick Michaud with Seattle Police. “That somebody else falls victim to something like this, before we really have an opportunity to clamp down on it and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Detectives said the scammer convinced the victim to deposit money in a Bitcoin ATM machine. But afterwards his family members figured out it was a scam, so they changed the account settings to lock out the suspect.

Police are still investigating if the suspect got the money from Bitcoin after all.

Investigators said a lot of the times the suspects randomly call people until someone bites.

“If the IRS contacts you, says you have some overdue taxes, they aren't going to ask for it in Bitcoin,” Michaud said. “They aren't going to ask for it in iTunes gift cards or green dot cards. They'll send you a letter in the mail, the good old fashioned way and they will work with you to try and get that figured out."

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Detectives said they aren’t aware of any other IRS scam cases involving Bitcoin, but they’re warning the public before the scam takes off.

Police said if you or someone you know has been targeted in a similar scam, please call 911 to make a report or contact SPD’s Fraud Unit at (206) 684-8981 .

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