ORANGETOWN, N.Y. -- The Orangetown Police Department is reminding residents that it's tax time again and that means it's also time for scammers to begin targeting individuals to steal personal information.
On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers with limited English proficiency of phone scams and email phishing schemes that continue to occur across the country.
Con artists often approach victims in their native language, threaten them with deportation, police arrest, and license revocation, among other things.
“These scammers continue to adapt and evolve, and the IRS continues to receive reports of these schemes using multiple languages trying to find victims across the country,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Don’t be fooled. Regardless of the language being used, the IRS won’t be calling out of the blue to verify your personal tax information or threaten you to make an immediate tax payment using a specific method of payment, such as on a pre-paid debit card."
Koskinen said the scammers tell their victims they owe the IRS money and must pay it promptly through a preloaded debit card, gift card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “Robocalls” or via a phishing email. If the victim refuses to cooperate, the caller becomes hostile and insulting and may threaten arrest, deportation or revocation of a driver’s or professional license.
Another tactic is for scammers to politely begin asking taxpayers to verify their identity over the phone. They may say they have their tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process the return. They may also tell their victims they have a refund due to trick them into sharing private information such as Social Security numbers or personal financial information, such as bank or credit cards numbers.
In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake communication purportedly from the IRS. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against these cons and similar tactics, as they continually change.
Here are four things scammers often do but the IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will not do:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer deported or arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
For more information on IRS scams, click here.