A call to Colorado Springs police about three armed men outside a home Monday afternoon turned out to be a false alarm, according to a department news release.
Police believe the caller resorted to "swatting" after a failed attempt to get money from the homeowner through an IRS scam.
Swatting is a criminal act of making a false report to get a response from law enforcement.
Just before 12:30 p.m. Monday, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office forwarded a call to Colorado Springs police about three men with guns outside the man's home, police said. Officers responded and learned that the homeowner never called in the threat.
"The call was a hoax," police said in the news release.
The homeowner told police he received multiple calls from an IRS agent in the morning, claiming the homeowner "owed a large amount of money for taxes over a 4-year time span," police said. The homeowner's daughter returned one of the calls and found out the number was listed under the Sheriff's Office.
Police believed the suspected callers used an online communications device that allowed them to change a phone number on a victim's caller ID. This technique is known as spoofing.
"This is a reminder that there are many scams prevalent at this time of year, particularly those dealing with the IRS," police said in a statement. "While most scams do not rise to the level of the suspects calling in a false 911 emergency, citizens are reminded to be vigilant. If you receive a telephone call stating you owe money and feel that it may be a scam, obtain as much information as possible and report it to the authorities."