Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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NY1 For You: Scammers Can Pose as IRS Reps During Tax Time

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As tax season approaches, the IRS and local consumer agencies are warning of scam artists looking to get a return on taxpayers' fears. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

Constant calls from scam artists pretending to be from the IRS have been taxing on city resident Trinity Singh.

"They saying the same thing, 'Oh do you have a problem with the IRS,'" says Singh.

It's a pervasive scam according to the IRS in which the caller claims they're from the IRS and tells the taxpayer they owe money to the agency which must be paid immediately through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

The callers spoof the IRS' toll free number on caller ID to make it appear it's the IRS calling. If you get one of these calls the Better Business Bureau says you should hang up.

"If you're getting calls or texts from those saying they're from the IRS, don't believe it. The IRS contacts you via the U.S. mail," says New York Metro Better Business Bureau President and CEO Claire Rosenzweig.

And this phone scam is just the tip of the iceberg, with tax ID theft the most common form of tax fraud.

"What that is is when somebody's trying to use your Social Security number to file a tax return in your name," says Rosenzweig. "Some of the warning signs that you're Social Security number might be being used for ID theft, you might get a letter from the IRS saying that they've received more than one tax return from you or you might start getting tax forms from an employer that you've never heard of. If that happens, you can contact the IRS, they have a special identify theft unit."

For more on the different types of tax scams and how to avoid them go to the IRS website at IRS.gov.

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