Tax Scam Alert

The tax filing season is a popular time for scammers to call and try to dupe unsuspecting taxpayers, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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As Oregon residents and business operators get ready for the tax filing season ahead, tax scams are popping up.

The tax filing season is a popular time for scammers to call and try to dupe unsuspecting taxpayers, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

These thieves often make threatening or alarming calls posing as the IRS to try to steal taxpayer money or personal information.

The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails, phone calls or texts asking for personal information.

The IRS has seen a recent increase in these scams, many of which originate outside the United States. To date, investigations have identified sites hosting hundreds of IRS-related phishing scams. These scam websites have been found to originate in at least 20 different countries.

Scammers claiming to be from the IRS, tell you that you are due a federal tax refund, and direct you to a website that appears to be a genuine IRS site. The bogus sites contain forms or interactive web pages similar to IRS forms and web pages.

Don’t be fooled! These sites and forms have been modified to request detailed personal and financial information from the e-mail recipients. E-mail addresses involving users in professional and educational communities seem to be heavily targeted.

The information obtained is then used to steal the taxpayer identity and financial assets. Typically, identity thieves use someone’s personal data to empty the victim’s financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services, or benefits in the victim’s name and even file fraudulent tax returns.

It's easy for people to recognize the scam by knowing how the IRS contacts taxpayers.

The IRS will never:

• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.

• Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

• Call unexpectedly about a tax refund.

Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should:

• Record the number and then hang up the phone immediately.

• Report the call by visiting the Hotline page of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and using an IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484.

Forms to report fraud are available on the Hotline page of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website. Taxpayers just click the appropriate option under "IRS Scams and Fraud" and follow the instructions.

Report the number to phishing@irs.gov and put "IRS Phone Scam" in the subject line.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office contributed to this report. For more information, visit the IRS website, www.irs.gov.

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