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Duane Reade Staffers Warn Elderly Man He's Likely Being Scammed, Police Say

By Dartunorro Clark | September 23, 2016 4:10pm | Updated on September 25, 2016 2:27pm
 An East Harlem resident was scammed out of thousands on Sept. 12.
An East Harlem resident was scammed out of thousands on Sept. 12.
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DNAinfo/Anton K. Nilsson

HARLEM — A pair of staffers at a Harlem Duane Reade helped an elderly neighbor who was being scammed by people posing as IRS employees, the NYPD said.

A 73-year-old East Harlem resident received a call around noon on Sept. 12 from a man who identified himself as Mark Hill from the IRS, police said.

The suspect, presumably a false name, told the victim that he owed taxes to the government and needed to deposit $6,500 in an account immediately — which he did, police said.

The suspect then told the victim to purchase $1,500 worth of gift cards and read the numbers from the cards to him over the phone to pay off the balance of the phony tax bill, police said.

The victim went to a Duane Reade and purchased the gift cards, but store workers, who asked why he was buying such a large amount of gift cards, informed the victim he might be getting scammed, police said. He then reported the call to the police.

►READ MORE: Your Guide to Avoiding Common Scams in the City

The IRS, according to its website, has dealt with people pretending to be from the agency swindling people under the guise of phony tax bills.

“If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee, record the employee's name, badge number, call back number and caller ID if available,” the agency said.

The agency also said to call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's CrimeStoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).