Tax season offers a new opportunity for fraudsters to work at stealing personal information and financial resources from unsuspecting consumers. Scammers claim to be from the IRS and provide fake names and badge numbers. They might be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number (SSN) and spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID. While this might make the call more convincing, giving out enough personal information gives them the ability to file fraudulent returns.
What you need to know:
- The IRS does not make threatening phone calls as the first form of contact. They have a formal process in place that typically begins with a letter.
- Gift cards and prepaid debit cards are not legitimate payment methods. The IRS can advise you the best method to pay a bill.
- File your taxes early. Identity thieves try and file fraudulent claims early to claim an individual’s tax return. File early to avoid being a victim.
- Contact the IRS directly if you receive a refund in error. There are step by step instructions on their website if you have received one in error.
In some cases, the taxpayer receives a recorded voicemail threatening criminal action and blacklisting of their social security number if the funds are not returned. In either case, consumers should be warned never to share their information with individuals posing as the IRS.
If you have questions about this scam or think you might be a victim, call NBT Bank customer service at 1-800-NBT-BANK. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.