Press Release #011816(19)-Warning about Tax Phishing Scams

Jan 28, 2016   11:20 AM
At the onset of Tax Season, the San Angelo Police Department is warning consumers about ?Phishing? scams from individuals claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Scammers who are posing as tax officials are threatening Texans with fines, arrest, and other penalties if they do not immediately pay a false claim of unpaid taxes. We want to remind consumers to be vigilant and aware of dishonest individuals posing as public tax officials who use fear tactics and intimidation to cheat taxpayers out of their hard-earned money. We would also like you to know how and who to report these scams to ? even if you don?t fall for them. This release contains important information with embedded links that warrant saving for future reference.
Phishing scams are particularly relevant during the tax season. Taxpayers receive emails with the IRS logo and/or claiming to be from the "Taxpayer Advocate Service." The email asks the taxpayer to resolve an issue with his or her "2015 filing" by clicking a link within the email. The web page accessed then solicits personal information such as the recipient's legal name and contact information. Legitimate IRS Officials recommend consumers report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov. Recent scams have used the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to attract potential victims. Also, if you've experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.
Telephone scams are conducted by a caller who instructs recipients to immediately make payments for back taxes through wire transfers or a pre-loaded debit card like Green Dot MoneyPakŪ. Through ?Telephonic spoofing" techniques, the scam phone numbers appear to be that of the IRS or local police departments. Scammers have also used fake names and IRS badge numbers, and may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security Number. In some cases, these calls have been accompanied by a fake IRS e-mail sent to support the claim. If victims appear hesitant or unwilling to comply, the caller turns hostile by threatening police arrest or the loss of one's home. If the victim does not respond to these threats, the scammer may have others call the victim pretending to be from a government entity such as a local law enforcement agency. *Officials with Green Dot MoneyPakŪ warn consumers if they give their MoneyPak number to a criminal, Green Dot is not responsible for paying you back and the funds are not insured against loss.
Other tax scams come via paper mail, fax, fake websites, and by text message or Short Message Service (SMS). Please review the attached IRS directory designed to instruct consumers about what they should do if the receive suspicious IRS-related communication.

What to do if you receive a suspicious IRS-related communication:

If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, taxes associated with a large investment, inheritance or lottery:
1. Don't reply.
2. Don't open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
3. Don't click on any links. Visit our identity protection page if you clicked on links in a suspicious email or website and entered confidential information.
4. Forward the email as-is to us atphishing@irs.gov. Don't forward scanned images because this removes valuable information.
5. Delete the original email.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee:
1. Record the employee's name, badge number, call back number and caller ID if available.
2. Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
  • If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back.
  • If not, report the incident to TIGTA and to us at phishing@irs.gov (Subject: 'IRS Phone Scam')
If you receive a letter, notice or form via paper mail or fax from an individual claiming to be the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee:
Go to the IRS home page and search on the letter, notice, or form number. Fraudsters often modify legitimate IRS letters. You can also find information at Understanding Your Notice or Letteror by searching Forms and Pubs.
  • If it is legitimate, you'll find instructions on how to respond or complete the form.
  • If you don't find information on our website or the instructions are different from what you were told to do in the letter, notice or form, call 1-800-829-1040 to determine if it's legitimate.
  • If it's not legitimate, report the incident toTIGTA and to us at phishing@irs.gov.
If you receive an unsolicited fax, such as Form W8-BEN claiming to be from the IRS, requesting personal information:
Please send us the email or scanned fax via email to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: 'FAX'). Visit the FATCA home page and Form W8-BEN for more information.
If you receive an unsolicited telephone call or email, involving a stock or share purchase, that involves suspicious IRS or Department of Treasury documents such as "advance fees" or "penalties":
...and you are a U.S. citizen located in the United States or its territories or a U.S. citizen living abroad.
1. Complete the appropriate complaint form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
2. Forward email to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: 'Stock').
3. If you are a victim of monetary or identity theft, you may submit a complaint through theFTC Complaint Assistant.
... and you are not a U.S. citizen and reside outside the United States.
1. Complete the appropriate complaint form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
2. Contact your securities regulator and file a complaint.
3. Forward email to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: 'Stock').
4. If you are a victim of monetary or identity theft, you may report your complaint toeconsumer.gov.
If you discover a website on the Internet that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus:
Send the URL of the suspicious site to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: 'Suspicious Website').
If you receive a text message or Short Message Service (SMS) message claiming to be from the IRS:
1. Don't reply.
2. Don't open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
3. Don't click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious SMS and entered confidential information, visit our identity protection page.
4. Forward the text as-is, to us at 202-552-1226.Note: Standard text messaging rates apply.
5. If possible, in a separate text, forward the originating number to us at 202-552-1226
6. Delete the original text.
For more information about IRS scams, visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing
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