Beware of Crimes Targeting Taxpayer’s
Yulee, Fla. – The beginning of a new year may signify the end of the holiday season, but it also kicks off the next season: INCOME TAX SEASON. The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office wants you to avoid becoming a victim of financial and/or identity theft by being aware of widely used Internal Review Service scams.
NCSO and law enforcement agencies throughout the country continue to field calls from victims who said they received a phone call telling them they owe back taxes that must be paid immediately to the IRS. The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration has said this is the largest IRS-related scam the agency has ever encountered, with victims collectively paying more than $5 million in 2014. “It’s a very productive scam,” said Sheriff Bill Leeper. The scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling and threaten potential victims with arrest or revocation of their driver’s license or facing arrest. Victims are often coerced into providing credit/ debit card numbers or some other form of immediate payment.
NCSO reminds people that the IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message.
In addition, during the tax filing time window between January-April 15, there may be an increase of identity theft reports due to someone fraudulently filing a tax return under your stolen Social Security number in order to obtain your refund money. Whether you file a return by yourself or use a certified public accountant, it is a strong indication you are the victim of identity theft if you receive a notification that your refund has already been submitted or is currently processing. Investigators advise the best way to avoid being a victim of this crime is by filing as early as possible to prevent someone else from doing it on your behalf. If this occurs, Sheriff Leeper advises to get in touch with local law enforcement immediately file a report.