Scammers go to extremes in attempt to steal money from Richmond man

Scammers go to extremes in attempt to steal money from Richmond man

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man says scammers went to extreme measures to try to scare him into giving up his money.

"I answered the phone because it had treasury department across the top," Vernon Baines said.

Baines says he knew almost immediately when he picked up the phone on Monday that it was a scam call.  The person on the other end told him he owed $2,000 in back taxes and that the police would be sent in minutes to arrest him if he did not pay up.

"I kept telling him I don't wanna go to jail," Baines said.

The caller instructed Baines to go to the nearby Target and buy five $100 dollar federal ID cards, also known as iTunes cards. Since the call had been made to a house phone, the caller said he'd hold the line while Baines made the purchase.

"I told him say since I'm walking it's gonna take about 20 minutes," Baines said. "I put the phone down and went outside and stood outside for 20 minutes came back in and picked up the phone and said I'm back."

That's when the caller told Baines to read off the ID numbers on the back of the cards.

"I told him I'm not giving the numbers over the phone," Baines said. The caller became agitated!

"Sir I don't wanna argue with you if you don't want to give me the cards just be ready to get arrested I'm sending the cops right now," the voice on the recording said. "You're not doing any favor on me by paying your back taxes, let me tell you that."

What happened next took it over the top for Baines and his twin sister who was listening in, posing as his wife.

"I'm sending the cops right now to your place just be ready to get arrested," the person on the phone said, with audible sirens in the background as the voice on the other line spoke.

"The sirens was just too much," said his sister Valeria Christian.

"The officers are going to come, they're going to bang your faces against the wall so just be ready for that," the person on the other side of the phone warned.

The pair could not contain their laughter at that point.

"And then finally he cursed me and hung the phone up," Baines said.

But, moments later the phone was ringing again. They say this time the caller ID said Richmond Police Department. The person on the other end said officers were coming to arrest Baines in 20 to 30 minutes. But his sister was already on another phone with police who told her no one was on the way.

"But the police department said it's shows City of Richmond, it would never say Richmond Police Department and he said it was a scam," Christian said.

Baines says this is not the first time he's strung a scammer along.  It's his way of getting back.

"Every time they call me, I do that," Baines said.

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