Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tax Payers Warned about Ongoing Scam

Carol Shupert of H&R Block in Sallisaw is warning tax payers about an ongoing scam that residents in Vian and Sallisaw are reporting.

The scam involves callers who say they are with the IRS and threaten the people they call with fines or jail if they do not send a payment.

Anyone who receives such a call should hang up immediately, according to the IRS website. Those who receive such calls may report them to the IRS by going to the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or by calling 800-366-4484. Scams may also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by using the FTC Complaint Assistant on the web site. Please put IRS Telephone Scam in the notes.

The IRS continues to warn consumers to guard against these scam phone calls intent on stealing their money or their identity. The IRS offers the following information to protect consumers.

-The IRS does not call to demand immediate payment. The IRS does not require taxes be paid in a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card, and will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Scammers make these unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand the victim pay a bogus tax bill and will try to con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

-The IRS does not demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount owed. The IRS does not threaten to call in the police or other agencies if the tax bill is not paid. Callers try to scare their victims and may use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of the victim if they don’t get the money.

-Scammers may use ID spoofing, meaning they may alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers may 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.

-Scammers may also provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment, or use emails that contain a fake IRS document or IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail to make the ruse look official.

-Also, if you suspect the call, hang up immediately. Do not give out any information.

-If you think you owe the IRS call the IRS for assistance at 800-829-1040.

Scammers first tried to sting older people, new immigrants and those who speak English as a second language. Now the scammers try to swindle anyone, and they’ve ripped off people in every state.

These scammers have cost victims over $23 million. About 736,000 scam contacts have been reported since October 2013, and nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid out over $23 million to the scammers.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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