Tax scams are running rampant in this country. Americans by the million are looking forward to the stimulus package, and because of this, an increase in con jobs is being anticipated by the IRS.
A big opportunity is offered to a con artist with any news event. It is also a perfect opportunity for identity theft.
Even before President Bush signed the legislation in February for the new stimulus package, thieves had really exceeded themselves by already pegging scams for them.
In May, the checks automatically start going out to people that have filed a 1040A, 1040 tax return for 2007.
Scammer’s are already starting to contact victims by phone and claim they represent the IRS, and they can immediately direct-deposit their rebates, If they give their bank account numbers right away.
Of course the truth is that the scammer uses that number to make you a victim of identity theft and to commit a variety of financial swindles, Not to deposit your funds.
One gentleman in Texas, I'll call him Jim, was one target that didn’t fall for this scam.
Jim received many calls in early February from a North Dakota area code; he could tell the calls were automated, because, with this type of call, it always takes a few seconds for anyone to come on the phone.
Jim actually talked to an IRS imposter many times.
It turned out it was always the same man and, every time, the scammer asked for his bank account number saying he would direct-deposit an $800 rebate into his account.
This con artist was diligent in trying to get Jim to give him all his personal information.
Jim told the scammer he knew the IRS would Never call him and request this type of information over the phone.
At this point, the con artist became extremely agitated, but, not nearly as agitated as the prospective victim was.
According to the Texas Attorney General’s Office they have received a large number of complaints about these calls and, reportedly, the fraudsters specifically refer to “Bush refunds”.
They do know millions of Americans are expecting to receive a cash payment, so they know the scammers will be stepping up their con and increase the amount of calls and emails they make to perpetuate these tax scams.
This just is not the way they work, and the last thing they do is ask for personal information on the phone or in an email.
Reported rebate scams have mainly been done by phone, but email schemes that impersonate the IRS are becoming very common.
If you would like to avoid tax scams and talk to a real IRS person, call 1-800-829-1040 or go to www.irs.gov.
If you think you have been a victim of one of these fake tax scams, file a complaint with your state Attorney General’s Office or the IRS for help with tax returns or information on stimulus payments, go to www.aarp.org/stimulus.