Recently, the Internal Revenue Service reported the existence of two new tax scams which target families of members of the Armed Forces and e-mail users. In both scams, people have impersonating themselves as IRS agents.
The IRS warns consumers to beware of any scenario where a telephone caller, who claims to be an employee of the IRS, informs a family member that, because their relative is serving in the Armed Forces, he/she are entitled to a substantial tax refund. The scam artist then asks for a credit card number in order cover the mailing fee. In order to make the call seem legitimate, the scammer will also provide a call-back number, which, in fact, is an actual IRS toll-free number. The scammer will then make numerous unauthorized purchases with the victim’s credit card number.
It should be strongly emphasized that genuine IRS employees calling taxpayers never ask for credit card numbers, nor do they request fees refund payments.
A senior IRS staff member stated, “These types of shameless schemes hold out the allure of easy money. The IRS warns taxpayers to be on the lookout for these schemes. And we urge taxpayers to remember that the IRS does not charge for refunds or solicit credit card information."
The other taxscam has the victims receiving an e-mail that seems to be from the IRS. The e-mail has links to a Internet Web page that is not associated with the IRS asking for the victim's personal and financial information. This information is then used to steal the respondent’s identity, thereby allowing the scammer to easily access all sensitive financial data or accounts.
These identity thieves use this personal data to:
- Take over the victim's financial accounts
- Run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards
- Apply for loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name
- File fraudulent tax returns
Again, it's strongly emphasized that the IRS does not ask a taxpayer for sensitive personal or financial data by e-mail.
Both of these schemes are being reviewed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
Taxpayers who have any one of these two scams should contact the TIGTA immediately using the following means: By calling the toll-free fraud referral hotline at 1-800-366-4484, by faxing a complaint to 202-927-7018 or by writing to the TIGTA Hotline, P.O. Box 589, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044-0589.
These are not the first tax scams involving the impersonation of an IRS employee or misusing the IRS name. In the past, scammers impersonating IRS agents have gone to taxpayers’ homes to “collect taxes.” Remember, legitimate IRS special agents, field auditors, and collection officers carry picture IDs and will attempt to contact the taxpayer prior to their visit.
In another scam, tax scam artists mailed out fictitious bank correspondence along with bogus IRS forms in an attempt to trick the recipients into disclosing their personal and banking information. The scammers then used the information to impersonate the taxpayer and gain access to the taxpayer’s finances.
Once again, genuine IRS forms will never ask for sensitive personal and financial data, except in very special circumstances.
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