Washington — Although the federal
tax filing season ended on April 15, the Internal Revenue Service
continues to see new tax scams. Two new schemes target families of
those serving in the Armed Forces and e-mail users. In both
schemes, people represent themselves as being from the IRS
The IRS warns consumers to beware of any variation of a scenario in
which a telephone caller posing as an IRS employee tells a family
member that he is entitled to a large tax refund because his relative
is in the Armed Forces and then requests a credit card number to cover
a fee for postage. The scammer provides an actual IRS toll-free number
as the call back number in order to make the call seem legitimate.
However, the scammer then makes numerous unauthorized purchases with
the victim’s credit card number.
Genuine IRS employees who call taxpayers do not ask for credit card
numbers or request fees for payment of a refund.
“Tax season may be over, but tax scams continue,” said IRS Commissioner
Mark Everson. “These types of shameless schemes hold out the allure of
easy money. The IRS warns taxpayers to be on the lookout for these
schemes. And we urge taxpayers to remember that the IRS does not charge
for refunds or solicit credit card information.”
In another scheme, victims receive an e-mail that appears to be from
the IRS. The e-mail contains links to a non-IRS Internet Web page that
asks for personal and financial information. Such information could be
used to steal the respondent’s identity and get access to sensitive
financial data or accounts.
Identity thieves can use someone’s personal data to:
- Take over his or her financial accounts,
- Run up charges on the victim’s existing credit
- Apply for loans, credit cards, services or
benefits in the victim’s name, or
- File fraudulent tax returns.
The IRS does not request sensitive personal or financial data by e-mail.
Both of these schemes are being reviewed by the Treasury Inspector
General for Tax Administration, which is authorized to investigate the
misuse of the IRS name, insignia, seals and symbols.
Taxpayers who are on the receiving end of one of these scams should
contact TIGTA by calling the toll-free fraud referral hotline at
1-800-366-4484, faxing a complaint to 202-927-7018 or writing to the
TIGTA Hotline, P.O. Box 589, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C.
These are hardly the first scams involving impersonation of an IRS
employee or misuse of the IRS name.
In the past, scammers have impersonated IRS agents by going to
taxpayers’ houses to “collect taxes.” Genuine IRS special agents, field
auditors, and collection officers carry picture IDs and will normally
try to contact the taxpayer before they visit.
In another scam, the scheme promoters sent out fictitious bank
correspondence and phony IRS forms in an attempt to trick the
recipients into disclosing their personal and banking data. The scheme
promoters then used the information to impersonate the taxpayer and
gain access to the taxpayer’s finances.
Genuine IRS forms do not ask for sensitive personal and financial data
except in very special circumstances. ( IR-2003-63, May 8, 2003 )