Home Consumer Al Sunshine’s Major Tax Scam Warnings

Al Sunshine’s Major Tax Scam Warnings

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Here is a Major Tax Scam Warning: Last minute Warnings have been issued by the Tax Folks following a dramatic increase in Tax Scams aimed at ripping off taxpayers.

Phone, Email, Website scams are apparently exploding, so the IRS has just issued a Nationwide Warning to help Taxpayers avoid being scammed out of their refunds or personal identities. Per the “Tax Man”:

“These scam artists frequently masquerade as being from the IRS, a tax company and sometimes even a state revenue department. By email, they try enticing people to click on links in official-looking messages containing questions related to their tax refund. Report these emails to phishing@irs.gov. By phone, many scammers use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

Variations of these scams can be seen nationwide, and it’s more important than ever to be cautious with providing personal or financial information. As part of the effort to protect taxpayers, the IRS has teamed up with state revenue departments and the tax industry to make sure taxpayers understand the dangers to their personal and financial data as part of the “Taxes. Security. Together” campaign.

Faith Based Events

Some examples of the varied tactics seen this year are:

  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals–IR-2016-34
  • “Verifying” tax return information over the phone–IR-2016-40
  • Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry–IR-2016-28

There are some important reminders for taxpayers nationwide about these schemes:

Watch Out for Threatening Phone Calls

Beware of scammers making unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

The IRS Will Never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • 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.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money and you don’t owe taxes, here’s what you should do:

Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.

Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.

Avoid e-mail phishing attempts

There has been a surge in e-mail scams this year that appear to be from a tax agency or a tax software company.

[vc_message message_box_style=”3d” message_box_color=”turquoise”]By Al Sunshine, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Consumer Investigator, April 17, 2016 [/vc_message]
Al Sunshine is a South Florida-based Broadcast and Digital Journalist whose career has spanned more than 40 years at the local and national levels. His award-winning investigations have triggered more than a dozen state and local consumer protection laws and his work’s been cited in Congressional Testimony before the U-S House of Representatives. He is best known for his “Shame On You” features for CBS Miami which sought to expose businesses, agencies and individuals defrauding or deceiving consumers, as well as endangering the safety and welfare of the general public. In 2013 Al retired from CBS Miami to set up his own Digital News Business, “Sunshine News, LLC” and Al continues to blog for the Radio, Television, Digital News Association, sponsors of the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Awards”. An avid environmentalist, Al is one of the founding members of the “Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition”. The Florida Non-Profit is fighting to save and restore the last 2% of Pine Rocklands found only in South Florida and nowhere else in the continental United States. Al was recently elected its President.