February 27, 2015

Great information from the IRS about a tax related scam:

The IRS has issued a new warning about a growing number of tax scams in communities across the country.
If you get a nasty call from someone purporting to be an employee of the IRS, hang up the phone.
The Internal Revenue Service issued a new warning Friday for an ongoing scam in which an official-sounding caller claiming to be a U.S. tax official berates threatens and frightens people into believing they owe thousands in unpaid taxes. Sometimes they say a refund is coming, and ask for personal information to transfer the funds.
Even though the filing deadline is six months away, the scammers are back at it in earnest.
One of the most recent victims is a North Carolina Baptist minister who spent nine hours on the phone with a trickster who dumped him out of $16,500.
The Rev. Al Cadenhead of Charlotte got a call this week from a woman who said his tax returns had been audited and there "serious miscalculations," the pastor told the Charlotte Observer. There was a warrant out for his arrest, she told him, and the IRS was in the process of putting a lien against his house.
Cadenhead said he panicked and feared his church would be disgraced if he was thrown in jail. He drove around for hours, taking money out of a bank account and purchasing pre-paid Green Dot Money Paks, which the fake IRS agent told him was the only form of acceptable payment.
"This scam is so sophisticated and efficient and thorough, you're in the middle of it before you realize what's happening," the 67-year-old preacher said.
In the past year, some 180,000 complaints have been received by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, with 1,800 documented victims and losses estimated at $100 million.
Former North Carolina Panther Frank Garcia lost $8,000 this summer during a similar phone call. "The way they manipulate you, you're not thinking straight," Garcia told the paper. "I had filed for an extension and thought it could easily be a mix-up."

The scam is intricate and frighteningly calculated, according to the IRS. The caller ID may flash an actual IRS phone number, the caller may have the last four digits of your Social Security number, the name of your employer and your home address.
But the Internal Revenue Service does not phone or send emails about personal information, the agency said. Notifications of IRS inquiries are delivered via snail mail.
If you have been contacted by such a caller, the IRS asks you to call the Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484, or Call the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office at:
Upper Keys 853-3211, Middle Keys 305-289-2430, and Lower Keys 305-745-3184.

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