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Mon, Oct. 14

IRS: ‘numerous’ tax scams try to separate people from their money

PHOENIX – As tax season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service, the states and the tax industry remind taxpayers to be on the lookout for an array of evolving tax scams related to identity theft and refund fraud.

Every tax season, there is an increase in schemes that target innocent taxpayers by email, by phone and on-line. The IRS and Security Summit partners remind taxpayers and tax professionals to be on the lookout for these deceptive schemes

Some of the most prevalent IRS impersonation scams include:

• Requesting fake tax payments: The IRS has seen automated calls where scammers leave urgent callback requests telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill.” These fake calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken.

• Targeting students and parents and demanding payment for a fake “Federal Student Tax”: Telephone scammers are targeting students and parents demanding payments for fictitious taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.”

• Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act: The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email or letter that includes the fake CP2000.

• Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals:  Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of phishing email schemes that pretend to be from company executives and request personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and financial and personal information including Social Security numbers.

• “Verifying” tax return information over the phone: Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as a SSN or personal financial information, including bank numbers or credit card.

The IRS will never:

• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer or initiate contact by e-mail or text message. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any tax.

• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or call 800-366-4484.

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