Tax Season Scams

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Provided by Prince William County Police

It’s tax season, which means it’s also time for criminals to dream up new ways to scam you out of your money. Below are some recent scams we’ve noticed that claim to involve the IRS.

INACCURATE REFUNDS
One quickly growing scam involves erroneous tax refunds deposited into bank accounts. The criminal steals your data from tax professionals and files a fraudulent tax return. They use your bank account for the deposit. Once deposited in your account, they use various tactics to reclaim the refund. In one version of this scam the criminal poses as a debt-collection agency official supposedly acting on behalf of the IRS. They contact you to say a refund was deposited in error, and ask you to forward the money to their collection agency.

In another version of this scam, the taxpayer who received the inaccurate refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS. The caller threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund. This is NOT the IRS! The IRS has various official methods listed on their website on how to return an inaccurate refund. Visit irs.gov.

TELEPHONE SCAMS
Another scam involves callers claiming to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone is not answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request. The IRS does not operate this way! Never provide financial or personal information over the phone. If you know you owe taxes, or if you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Report the scam at treasury.gov.

EMAIL, PHISHING AND MALWARE SCAMS
These scams involve emails altered to appear legitimate with the IRS name and logo. They may seek
information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information. Again, the IRS does not operate this way! Never provide financial / personal information or click on links within the email. Report unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS to the IRS at [email protected].

Remember the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. The IRS will never request payment by debit / prepaid cards, gift cards or wire transfers.

Information courtesy of the IRS. For more information, visit irs.gov.

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