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IRS Scams and Tax-Related Identity Theft
IRS Phone Scams
A phone scam is reoccurring in Hanover County where an unknown person(s) is contacting unsuspecting citizens claiming to be a representative with the Sheriff’s Office or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This scam has become very prevalent recently and we want you to be informed. The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office will not call you about your taxes.
You may receive a call from someone claiming to be with the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the IRS or some other law enforcement agency who will claim that you owe back taxes. He or she may sound very convincing and seem to know a lot about you, and the caller ID may have been altered to appear as if the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office or the IRS is calling. The caller will warn that if you or your lawyer don’t return the call ASAP, you will be served with an arrest warrant. Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the IRS will call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill. The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without allowing you to question or appeal the amount you owe. The IRS will not require that you pay your taxes a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card. The IRS will not ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone. The IRS will not threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for nonpayment. The IRS will not leave a message threatening to sue you if you don’t pay right away. If you have any question about your tax status, you can contact the IRS at 800-829-1040.
Tax-related Identity Theft
Tax-related identity theft is the taking of a victim’s identity, including their Social Security number, and filing a fraudulent tax return. Victims are often unaware that this has occurred until they file their return and discover that a return has already been filed under their Social Security number.
How can you reduce your risk?
- Be aware of scams and “phishing” schemes. Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact. The Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens that the IRS will not call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
- Protect your personal data. Use security software with firewall and anti-virus protection. Use strong passwords. Shred all documents that contain personal information.
- Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicions emails.
- Monitor your credit report. Federal law requires that each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) provide one free credit report per year to individuals upon request. You may order your free credit report from each of the three bureaus at the Annual Credit Report Web site (www.annualcreditreport.com).
If you are a victim of tax-related identity theft:
- Contact the IRS immediately at 800-908-4490. The IRS will advise you to file a report with your local law enforcement agency.
- Contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 804-365-6140 to file a report.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trades Commission at identitytheft.gov.
- Contact one of the three major credit bureaus to place a “fraud alert” on your credit records:
- www.Equifax.com 1-888-766-0008
- www.Experian.com 1-888-397-3742
- www.TransUnion.com 1-800-680-7289
- Close any financial or credit accounts opened by identity thieves.
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if your e-file return rejects because of a duplicate filing under your SSN.
The Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Victim Advocate will contact victims and assist them in navigating the issues related to financial victimization, including completing necessary forms, repairing their credit and steps to take to prevent future financial crimes. If you have been a victim of tax-related identity theft, contact the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at 804-365-6140.
For more information, visit the following websites:
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
Federal Trade Commission