Quatloos! > Tax
Scams > New
Tax Scams Surface
IR-2003-63, May 8, 2003
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 has seen isolated instances of the scam that targets the families
of those serving in the Armed Forces.
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 $4,000 refund because his relative is in the Armed Forces
and then requests a credit card number to cover a $42 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 cards,
- Apply for loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s
- 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. 20044-0589.
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.
Alerts for more information.