Imitating the IRS: Scamsters threaten arrests over 'taxes'

It's a new twist to an old scam.

Con artists are adding an aggressive touch to lottery schemes, threatening potential victims now with legal action and arrests if they do not pay "taxes" on their purported winnings.

But don't be intimidated, says Barry Goggin, president of the Better Business Bureau serving northeast California.

Even if they say they are from the Internal Revenue Service.

"These guys are really getting far more flagrant in threatening the intended victims," Goggin said.

The reason may be that in tough economic times, fear may be a more effective tool in making people part with their money than greed, he said.

The targets may need that extra push, so scammers work harder, following up with more phone calls and escalating threats with each call.

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