(FOX11) - Scam artists are using tax season to target elderly. More than 50 people in Sierra Madre complained of an IRS schemer asking for thousands of dollars.
One of the victims, police say, they initially thought had been kidnapped by the criminals was found Thursday.
Shaken after a day long ordeal, 69-year-old Enayat Bargen pulled into the Sierra Madre police station seven hours after her husband had reported her missing.
"Are you okay?" FOX11's Christine O'Donnell asked.
"Yes I am," Bargen said ask she walked into the police station.
Chief Larry Giannone says more than 50 elderly people called his station today saying they were targeted by a scam artist claiming to be with the Government.
"This morning at about 9:00 am we had a senior become the victim of the latest IRS scam. That scam is when they get a phone call. If they don't comply they say the irs will be out with in the hour to arrest them," Giannone said.
The chief says he knows of two people who believed the scam and sent thousands of dollars, including Enayat.
"During the day the suspects kept her on the phone and made her drive around various location and pay cash for whats commonly called a green dot card," Giannone said.
A green dot card is a pre paid debit card…once you give someone the serial number on the back..they automatically get the money
Initially, Giannone says he feared she may have been kidnapped or worse. Instead, he says she was stopping at stores like Von's to pick up these cards and went through with sending the criminals $4000 dollars
"She told me a few minutes ago that she was scared. she's an outstanding individual in the community that just wanted to do what the government was telling her to do. and these are the kind of people who feel victim to this.
"I'm okay, but i've got to go now. It's a very tiring day," Bargen said.
Reports have included a number of different descriptions of the content of the message, including the following:
"…this is the final notice."
"…you are wanted by the IRS."
"…we are calling from the US Treasury."
"…if you don't respond, the IRS will file suit."
"…we will confiscate your property."
"…a non-response will be considered to be an intentional action."
"…we will come to your door."
Police also said the caller requires the recipient to get a pre-paid card and call them back with the card number on the front and security number on the back.