Guest Author - Kate Woods
What a surprise! Identity Theft is Alive and Well and attacks using many aliases and disguises. Coming along with the pending Tax Rebates is a neww Telephone Scam to try steal financial information. The IRS has issued a warning that Taxpayers should beware of a new scam using the IRS name as a lure.
The new scam is related to the pending rebates that have been proposed as part of an economic stimulus package. Although these rebates have not yet been approved at all levels of government they are already being used as bait by scammers to try to get financial information such as social security numbers, bank and credit card numbers, etc. which the scammers can use to steal identities. Identity theft is not new. The thieves run up credit card balances, apply for loans in the victims name, file phony fraudulent tax returns to attempt to claim refunds, etc., etc. The list of offenses against unsuspecting victims is long and can be devastating to those targeted and injured.
According to the IRS at least one new scam uses the word “rebate.” The targets receive phone calls from someone who identifies himself or herself as an employee of the IRS and advises the unsuspecting victim that they are eligible for a substantial rebate if they file their taxes early and provide their bank account information to the caller so that the caller can prearrange their direct deposit of the rebate. They also advise that if they don’t provide the information to the caller that they cannot receive the rebate.
The legislation for the rebate has not yet been passed. The rebates are not yet available. The IRS does not force taxpayers to receive any refund via direct deposit and the IRS does not gather direct deposit information by telephone.
Going through proper channels when dealing with IRS issues is a good policy to follow; you can always call the IRS if you have IRS related questions at 1-800-829-1040 or if you would like information on contacting your local IRS office you can find it online at http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/index.html
Please be careful!
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