Security & Fraud

New Tax Scam Uses Mailed Letters To Trick People

The Internal Revenue Service warned Thursday (Nov. 17) of a new tax bill scam in which unwitting consumers receive a fake IRS notice that contends they owe the government money because of the Affordable Care Act.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the IRS said the notices, which are bogus, look very close to the real IRS CP2000 notices, which the IRS mails out if information on a taxpayer’s tax return doesn’t match income. The IRS said lots of people have received the fake notices, which typically say a taxpayer owes money from the year earlier under the Affordable Care Act. This is just the latest in a series of scams designed to cheat taxpayers out of their hard-earned cash. As the end of the year gets closer and the tax deadline nears, the number of IRS scams tends to pick up.

In February, Western Union warned U.S. consumers of a new, nationwide IRS impersonation scam occurring during last year’s tax season. The scam involved callers who claim to work for the IRS — including a fake caller ID that backs up its claim — and who even provide an IRS ID badge number and a fake name.

The fake IRS representatives told the victims they owe money to the IRS and ask them to pay using a preloaded debit card or money transfer company. And if the person refuses to cooperate? The scammer is said to then get aggressive, threatening that their driver’s license or passport could be suspended.

“Awareness and education are the best tools we have in the joint fight against fraud,” said Dan Marostica, VP of consumer protection compliance for Western Union. “Scammers try to use good people and financial services companies to steal money. Knowing what to look for is key in identifying warning signs of a scam and then avoiding it.”

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