Local Law Enforcement Warns of IRS Scams
Germantown Police say no one has lost money yet, but they've received calls from citizens about attempts of tax-related scams.
"Same thing every year. At the end of January beginning of February once they start getting their tax statements, that's when we start receiving the calls," said Lt. Todd Grenier with the Germantown Police Department.
He said the scam is usually a person that calls saying they're from the IRS. They ask for a payment that's due. The scammers often want the payment immediately and sometimes threaten a lawsuit or that local law enforcement will arrest them if they don't pay.
Scammers are also filing tax returns fraudulently.
"They get that return in before you do," said Jennifer Voss with H&R Block.
The fraud happens when someone gets your social security number files your taxes, and collects any possible refund check.
"So when you try and file a tax return it comes back from the IRS saying, 'wait, we've already had this number,'" said Voss.
According to H&R Block:
The real IRS will NOT:
•Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
•Demand tax payment and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
•Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
•Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
•Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
•Threaten you with a lawsuit.
H&R Block also says the following are likely to become victims:
•Someone not required to file – If a taxpayer’s income is below the filing threshold and the individual does not choose to file, someone else could fraudulently file on their behalf.
•Those who typically don’t receive a refund – Taxpayers who do not expect a refund, or who expect to owe additional taxes, usually have little incentive to file early. This leaves a larger window of opportunity for the identity thief to file first.
•Living in a state with no state income tax return – Taxpayers who only file a federal return are then not worrying about a state return, and therefore open the window for a fraudster to use their information to file a state return in another state.
•The more dependents the more social security numbers to protect – For each name on the tax return there is a social security number. Younger dependents won’t file their own returns for years but fraudsters often hijack those numbers to then file a false return.
•Failing to forward mail or tell IRS about a change of address – This can lead to W-2s being mailed to a former address, therefore providing opportunity to fraudsters to retrieve that information and filing an income tax return.