CARLE PLACE, Long Island (WABC) --Walmart is being asked to help combat an IRS fraud scheme that is targeting Long Island seniors.
Usually, someone posing as an IRS agent falsely claims over the phone that the victim owes the IRS money, and that they must transfer money at a Walmart store immediately. They threaten that if the money is not paid right away, the victim could soon be arrested or forced to appear in court.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who spoke in Carle Place Wednesday, said the fraud scheme has cost victims about $30 million nationally.
George Jacobi, 59, of Jericho, has gotten numerous calls, while 60-year-old Valerie Urcan, of Port Washington, got the call a few weeks ago.
"It's disgusting, that's what I think," she said. "But it's just annoying, because it makes you feel bad, that saying you might owe somebody money."
In some instances, Long Island residents are directed "to the closest Walmart," to complete a fraudulent money transfer, purportedly to the IRS.
"The scammers demand that the money be wired right away," Schumer said. "They make it seem like there's going be some federal agent to knock at your door and arrest you unless you do."
Recordings provided by Schumer's office show some of the tactics used:
-- "Do not disclose this matter to anyone."
-- "Do you know your nearest Walmart store?"
-- "Don't act smart with me...OK?"
-- "You act smart with me, seriously, you'll be in a lot of trouble."
The AARP is warning people to keep certain things in mind.
"The IRS is not going to call you or ask you to give them a credit card or a debit card over the phone," AARP New York director Beth Finkel said.
As for Walmart, they do have small warning signs. But Schumer wants to see larger ones, and he wants Walmart workers to give people a verbal warning.
"They can say, that's a scam, don't send the money, we can check into it, and you're OK," he said.
The best advice is to stay calm, no matter how upsetting it seems.
"They make you feel like you really did something wrong," Urcan said. "You start to wonder, did I do something wrong? Did I not pay something?"
More information can be found at aarp.org/taxaide or by calling 888-227-7669. For other fraud prevention tips, visit aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.