Stratford police are warning residents about three types of tax fraud scams as you're filing your taxes.
Are you a tax preparer? Be wary of clicking any strange emails. One phishing scam sends tax professionals a bogus email asking them to update the information in their IRS e-services portal and their electronic filing numbers, according to police. The emails do not come from the IRS and the links are part of a scam, so police said to ignore such emails.
Then there's a phone scam targeting taxpayers, police said. Scammers impersonating IRS employees call under fake names and false IRS identification badge numbers and tell victims they owe money that must be paid through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer, police said. The calls may look like they're coming from the IRS on caller ID, but that's because the caller ID has been tampered with to make it look like a legitimate call, police said. Victims who refuse to comply are threatened and told they'll be arrested, deported or that their business or driver's license will be suspended. The callers sometimes become "hostile and insulting," police said.
Other victims are told they "have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information" and if they don't answer, the callers leave urgent messages, police said.
Police said the IRS never calls demanding payment right away or without time to question it or appeal it and that the agency would have mailed the information first, police said. The IRS also doesn't require a specific manner of payment for taxes, call for credit or debit card numbers or make threats to involve law enforcement.
Finally, scammers are also using the IRS name or logo in a phishing scheme to steal identities, whether it be over the phone or through email or fax. The IRS doesn't communicate with taxpayers through email unsolicited, police said. You can report suspected phishing incidents to email@example.com. Avoid clicking on links in these types of emails.
You can also report suspected IRS scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.