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BEWARE OF IRS TAX SCAMS

BEWARE OF IRS TAX SCAMS

BEWARE OF IRS TAX SCAMS

Today most of us are aware that scam artists are plentiful and clever. However, when the IRS issues a warning about a particular scam, it is well worth our attention. As it happens, in October the IRS issued a waning about a new Social Security number scam. This follows an ongoing warning about an IRS impersonation scam campaign. Here at JCN, we believe it is important for you to know about both of these fraudulent practices so that you can protect yourself and your personal data.

As for the Social Security number scam, people are receiving robocalls in which they are told they have overdue taxes, and threats to cancel their Social Security Number. The IRS advises simply hanging up if you receive one of these calls. Also, be aware that if there is a caller ID or call back number, you should report this to the IRS by emailing to phishing@IRS.gov, with the words “IRS Phone Scam” in the subject line.

Additionally, the call should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has a unique dual function in our government to promote commerce and to protect American consumers simultaneously. This agency needs to know about these widespread phone scams so that they can take steps to identify the source and put a stop to them.

In the recent warning, the IRS says it will never do any of the following:

  • Call to demand payments on prepaid debit cards, iTunes gift cards or wire transfers.
  • Ask you to make a payment to anything other than the U.S. Treasury
  • Threaten to have you arrested by local police
  • Demand taxes be paid without giving you an opportunity to question or appeal the demand.

The other scam has been going on since August, involving unsolicited emails from IRS imposters. The email subject line usually says, “Automatic Income Tax Reminder” or “Electronic Tax Return Reminder.” The emails even have links to websites that look like official IRS sites. The email will offer a password to gain access to files to submit for a supposed refund (which does not exist). Clicking on these links, however, takes you to malicious files. These files can infect your computer with “malware,” software designed to cause damage to your computer.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig issued an official statement: “The IRS does not send emails about your tax refund or sensitive financial information. This latest scheme is yet another reminder that tax scams are a year-round business for thieves. We urge you to be on guard at all times.”

Keep in mind the IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts. The IRS will most often mail a bill to a taxpayer who owes taxes.

For more information on this and other tax-related issues, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.

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