IRS EMPLOYEE IMPERSONATORS
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) urged taxpayers to remain on "High Alert" and announced additional outreach efforts to prevent them from falling victim to criminals who impersonate Internal Revenue Service and Treasury employees this filing season.
"As the tax filing season begins, it is critical that all taxpayers continue to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails from individuals claiming to be IRS and Treasury employees," said the Inspector General. "This scam has proven to be the largest of its kind that we have ever seen. The callers are aggressive and relentless," he said. "Once they have your attention, they will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash," George added. "We will be very aggressive in pursuing those perpetrating this fraud," the Inspector General said. "In the meantime, we need to do even more to warn taxpayers not to fall for it," he added.
Inspector General George noted that the scam has hit taxpayers in every State in the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card, money order or a wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with being charged for a criminal violation, a grand jury indictment, immediate arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license.
Here is what you need to know. The IRS generally first contacts people by mail - not by phone - about unpaid taxes and the IRS will not ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order or wire a transfer. The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone. The callers who commit this fraud often:
• Utilize an automated robocall machine.
• Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
• May know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security Number.
• Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
• Aggressively demand immediate payment to avoid being criminally charged or arrested.
• Claim that hanging up the telephone will cause the immediate issuance of an arrest warrant for unpaid taxes.
• Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
• Call a second or third time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here's what to do:
• If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
• If you do not owe taxes, fill out the "IRS Impersonation scam" form on TIGTA's website, www.tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
TIGTA encourages taxpayers to be alert to phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
Consumers continue to report receiving spam e-mail messages that claim to be sent by top FBI officials . As with previous spam attacks, the latest versions use the names of several high ranking executives within the FBI and even the Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3) in an attempt to defraud consumers.
These e-mails are hoaxes and recipients are urged not to respond.
Many of the spam e-mails currently in circulation claim to: be from an “official order” from the FBI's non-existent Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division or from an alleged FBI unit in Nigeria ; confirm an inheritance; or contain a lottery notification. The e-mails inform recipients they have been named the beneficiary of millions of dollars. To claim the large sum, recipients are instructed to furnish their personally identifiable information (PII) and are often threatened with some type of penalty, such as prosecution, if they fail to do so. Specific PII information requested includes, but is not limited to, the recipient's name, banking information, telephone number, and a copy of their passport.
The spam e-mail allegedly from the IC3 states that the recipient has extorted money and will be given a limited amount of time to refund the money or face prosecution.
The FBI does not send unsolicited e-mails of this nature. FBI executives are briefed on numerous investigations but do not personally contact consumers regarding such matters. In addition, the IC3 does not send threatening letters to consumers demanding payments for Internet crimes.
Consumers should not respond to any unsolicited e-mails or click on any embedded links associated with such e-mails, as they may contain viruses or malware. It is imperative consumers guard their PII. Providing your PII will compromise your identity.
“Unfortunately these types of scams do not seem to be going away any time soon. They continue to cycle through the Internet using names of different government officials and agencies. Scammers will continue to seek new ways to gain an advantage so they can steal your money or personal information. Just don't respond,” said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief, National Press Office, Washington , D.C.
To receive the latest information about cyber scams, please go to the FBI website and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. If you have received a scam e-mail, please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov . For more information on e-scams, please visit the FBI's New E-Scams and Warnings webpage or www.lookstoogoodtobetrue.com .
Related e-mail scams:
HOME REPAIR FRAUD
Senior citizens are approached by individuals offering to perform various home repair jobs such as driveway repair, roof or gutter repair, and chimney cleaning. The perpetrators claim to have materials left over from other jobs, offer significant discounts, or claim they were sent by a close relative or friend. Once the job is completed, the cost of the work is suddenly more than the first quote and payment in cash is demanded. The con artist may accompany the victim to the bank, to ensure payment in cash. Sometimes these home repair con artists will commit burglary if the opportunity presents itself.
ALWAYS lock your doors when doing yard work, getting the mail, or anytime you go outside - both the front and back doors.
NEVER allow strangers inside your home.
CHECK with the utility company by telephone if an employee wants to enter your home, or wants you to come outside with them.
BEWARE of unsolicited home repairmen. If you need the services of a home repairman, check with the township building officials to make sure they are legitimate. Be suspicious of anyone knocking at your door asking to make repairs to your home, or asking to pave or seal your driveway.
WRITE DOWN the plate number of any suspicious vehicles they may be operating.
CALL THE POLICE TO REPORT THE INCIDENT!!!!
Who are these criminals that specifically target senior citizens? They are a group of highly organized specialists in frauds and scams, who travel from city to city, from state to state, usually traveling some distance from their home to commit their crimes. The police have named this group TRANSIENT CRIMINALS. Because these criminals move from one area to another, law enforcement depends on shared information and improved reporting systems. It is extremely important that these crimes are reported to the police department.
The TRANSIENT CRIMINAL targets the senior citizen for several reasons. Seniors are more trusting in nature and are less likely to report the crime. They feel embarrassed or fear losing their independence, if they fall victim to these types of crimes. Many senior citizens keep large sums of money and other valuables at home. Senior citizens are more apt to have physical infirmities and are often alone during the day. Many times they are unaware of traveling con artists.
UTILITY IMPOSTER BURGLARS
One method used by these criminals to invade homes is called the Utility Imposter Scam. The suspects will pretend to be employees of the water department, power company, cable TV company, or a home improvement repairman. They will use a multitude of excuses to enter the home, such as; we need to inspect your water pipes, or we need to replace your water meter, or even a request to use the bathroom. One suspect will attempt to divert the homeowner downstairs to the basement or outside to examine needed repairs. During the diversion, a second suspect will enter the home to steal cash and jewelry. The imposter burglars may come equipped with all the tools of the trade, wearing hardhats, traffic vests, carrying walkie-talkies, etc.
HOME INVASION BURGLARY
The burglary team is usually made up of two to four people. In many cases, a male will drive three females to the targeted area. The female suspects will roam the neighborhood and approach senior citizens working in their yards, while the driver either cruises the neighborhood or parks away from the area. One suspect will distract the homeowner asking any number of questions. The second suspect will slip into the unlocked residence and steal cash and jewelry. It might be days or weeks before the homeowner realizes she/he has been the victim of a burglary. The suspects are careful to put everything back in its place.
Sometimes suspects will knock or ring the doorbell. The suspects will pretend to be ill, ask for a drink of water, ask if the house is for sale, ask about a previous owner, pretend to be looking for a lost dog, or any other excuse to get inside the home.
NO STRANGERS INSIDE THE HOUSE!