NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County

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Scammers and Tax Time

Scammers and Tax Time

 

            The closer it is to tax time, the more scammers there.  Scammers come out in force around tax time, trying to trick you into sending them your address, Social Security number, credit card number, bank account number or any other valuable piece of information that can help them rob your identity or your money.

            Tax scammers are sending out so-called "phishing" emails that appear to be from the IRS and claim that the recipient either owes money or is due a refund. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen reminds us, “the IRS won't send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don't click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise.” 

            If you receive an unsolicited email that seems to be from the IRS or a related agency, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), don't reply, don't open any attachments and don't click on any links. Doing so can enable scammers to collect your personal information or infect your computer with malicious code. Instead, report the phishing email by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

            The IRS does not contact taxpayers electronically - whether by text, email or social media - to request personal or financial information. Also, if someone calls saying he's an IRS agent and demands that you send money immediately, hang up.  It's a phone scam.

            In fact, phone scams top the IRS "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), which oversees the IRS, has received reports of 290,000 scam calls since October 2013 and said nearly 3,000 victims have been swindled out of $14 million so far.

            By altering their caller ID number to make it look like they're calling from an IRS office, these scammers often threaten vulnerable people like the elderly and new immigrants with things like arrest, deportation or the loss of their driver's license if they don't pay immediately for money purportedly owed.

The scammers sometimes say they are from the IRS Criminal Division. They may even claim to know the last four digits of your Social Security number and send follow-up emails that appear to be from the IRS.

Or sometimes when they call, they may say you have a refund due and ask you to provide personal information so you can claim it.

            The real IRS will contact you by regular mail first, if it needs to contact you at all. And the agency never demands immediate payment by phone or asks for credit card or debit numbers if they do call. It also never asks for personal or financial information by email, text or social media.

 

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