Tax season is here and opportunists are again determined as ever to victimize wage earners, steal their identities and much-anticipated tax refunds.
Your Social security number, name and date of birth – that’s all a scammer needs – as easy and as low risk as that. Once they have a Social Security number in hand, the scammers can file a phony tax return in the victim’s name, claim a large refund and have it sent to a false address.
Last year, the IRS caught more than 1.8 million fake tax returns and prevented more than $12 billion in fraudulent refunds. It is estimated that about $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years can even be issued to scammers.
Characteristics of these scams can include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number to sound more reliable and legitimate.
- Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
Phone numbers of „scammers“ using IRS and tax in their scheme also often receive frequent complaints and reports on tellows.
The number 5303802641 has 1154 search results and 21 comments. User Nancy said:
A call on Sunday morning for my husband and telling to call IRS 5303802641 for Keven Peterson. Both person on line have same strong accent. He asked if you have criminal attorney as you own IRS tax money from year 2006 to 2012(saying IRS audit tax for 6yrs). You will be arrested in 1hr30m because you didn’t file 990form and owe $4998.38. He said a mail came to our address a month ago and was returned…. So scared. I drop the call.
User Amol replied to this message saying:
Same here. He asked for $4976.41. Asked me to go to Safeway and send him the cash. I knew this was a scam as IRS would never do this. Form 990.
Another number, 5854660174, received 15 comments including the following from shadman:
an asian accent called saying that the IRS found an issue with my account and i need to call this number for details and talk to the officer there …i did….long story short and after harrasing me that they will arrest me in 45 minutes if i didnt solve the issue…..my friend came as an angel and told me not to trust them, i closed the phone, tryed to call them again and line is not working…..the net showed me that they did it to orthers through this exact number…..its fraud….thank you
The long list of these phone numbers on tax scams is a reminder to all taxpayers to beware and take extra precaution especially during the tax season.
IRS recently identified several schemes that scammers use to cheat on taxpayers. On top of the list is the phone scam method.
These phone scams include many variations, ranging from instances where callers say the victims are entitled to a huge refund. Some calls can threaten arrest and threaten a driver’s license revocation. Sometimes these calls are paired with follow-up calls from people saying they are from the local police department or the state motor vehicle department.
Take note of these tips from the IRS
- beware of fake emails, letter and phone calls to verify W-2 details, or to send forms by mail or upload it on websites
- there are a lot of unqualified and untrustworthy tax return prepares who could botch filings or steal personal details. According to IRS, taxpayers should use preparers who sign the returns they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs).
- make sure to store your forms or W-2’s in secure locations. These fraudsters alwys have ways to steal them even from your mailboxes.
- do not release your personal data over unsolicited emails claiming to be from the IRS. Remember that W-2 forms are submitted by employers, who can be contacted by the IRS through letters and not emails.
- don’t be persuaded by big refund promises, Refund Anticipation Loans or other fast-track tax preparation schemes. Always read confidentiality agreements, privacy policies and other fine print.
- always password-protect computers and activate anti-virus software if your records are stored online.
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS also has a special page on its link, including YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and an assistance guide. For victims, the information includes how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit. For other taxpayers, there are tips on how taxpayers can protect themselves against identity theft.
A smartphone app to help you filter phone scammers
You can also download the tellows app for caller identification – to help you filter the calls as the app will tell you if the call is trustworthy or not by giving out the complaints or comments of other users about the unknown number.
This will save you time since you don’t need to check the number in the internet. On the first ring of your phone, the tellows Score will automatically appear in order to help you decide whether to answer the phone or cancel it – 7 to 9 being the most untrustworthy numbers.
Your tellows team