Woman scammed out of life savings over phony IRS debt

A local art collector is vowing to watch more TV after she fell victim to the Green Dot Scam
Friday, August 22, 2014
A local art collector is vowing to watch more TV after she fell victim to the Green Dot Scam.

"I wish somebody would've said, 'Well, that's a scam!' My friends said they've heard about it on TV, but I usually don't watch television," said Susan Sosnowy.

Sosnowy said she got a peculiar call from someone claiming to be with the IRS.

"He said, 'You have shorted us big time on your taxes!'" she told us.

The caller's scare tactics had her fooled.

"They just said, 'Well, the sheriff will be knocking on your door any minute now to take you to jail,'" said Sosnowy. "It seems like the neighbors could've heard my little heart beating."

Sosnowy agreed to pay the requested $7,000 -- but only after a game of cat and mouse.

"I said, 'Well, how much is it? I can pay it...,'" she started. But she said the caller interrupted. "'Well, slow down, ma'am. We don't even know if you have the right to pay it. We're giving you the right to pay it.'"

The unfamiliar man went on to ask Sosnowy whether she lives close to her bank.

"I said yes it is. So, I drove to the bank with him on the phone the entire time," Sosnowy admitted.

She withdrew the money, even after telling the bank teller that the IRS was on the phone with her. The caller then directed her to a Kroger.

"He said there's a rack of cards, money cards. I'd never seen these things before, never noticed them before. And he said, go get the money pack cards. They're on the bottom -- and they were."

Each card has a $1,000 limit. Sosnowy bought seven. The caller got the numbers and gave her a code. And just like that, a stranger walked away with Sosnowy's entire life savings.

"You know, you trust people. I'm too trusting," she said. "And that's the lesson in all this."

Houston Police Department's Financial Crimes Unit is investigating. Experts remind everyone, the IRS doesn't call you. Sosnowy has called Money Pack, but she said they told her she needs a case number and a subpoena in order to try to track down who stole her money. And even then, there is little law enforcement can do once the money is in someone else's hands.
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finance scam money Houston
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