By Francis Laryea, Spring 2015 Student Intern
This week, we’re covering the Internal Revenue Service’s list of 12 scams, known as the “Dirty Dozen.” For Part I, we’ll be covering and explaining the first 3 scams on the list and providing tips on how to protect yourself.
- Identity Theft – The IRS states that identity theft topped this year’s list. Identity theft normally brings to mind the idea that someone steals your personal information and uses such information to commit fraud. In many cases, an identity thief uses a taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund for him or herself. The IRS has a special section dedicated to fighting identity theft. Check it out for tips on preventing identity theft.
- Telephone Scams – The IRS states that it has seen an increase in local phone scams across the country. In these scams, scammers may use fake names and IRS badge numbers, are sometimes able to recite the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number, and are sometimes able to imitate the IRS toll-free number to give the appearance of credibility. During these phone calls, scammers may tell a victim that monies are owed to the IRS or that victims are entitled to a huge refund. Some calls may include threats of arrest or other legal action. The IRS asks those who get calls from someone claiming to be the IRS to call the IRS at 800-829-1041. IRS employees at that line can help you if an issue exists.
- Phishing – This is a type of scam carried out by sending unsolicited emails or a fake website that lures in potential victims and asks them to provide personal information. Scammers take this information and use it to commit identity theft or financial theft. The IRS doesn’ If you receive unsolicited emails that appears to be from the IRS, report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The IRS has more information on phishing here. You can also learn more about phishing and how to prevent it in these prior posts on our blog.