Chief's Corner

Police Chief's Corner - Newsletter
March 2016

Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts from IRS

Attention City of Bunnell residents and business owners; don't become a victim to tax scams. Remember … if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

A local business in the City of Bunnell has fell victim to a W-2 Scam.

W-2 Scam Targeting Payroll and Human Resources Professionals

Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and financial and personal information including SSNs.

For more details, see: IR-2016-34, IRS Alerts Payroll and HR Professionals to Phishing Scheme Involving W-2s.

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.

If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

For more details on this ongoing scam, see:

*   Tax Tip 2016-19, Scam Calls and Emails Using IRS as Bait Persist

*   IR-2016-14, Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season.

E-mail, Phishing and Malware Schemes

The IRS has seen an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 tax season.

The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Variations of these scams can be seen via text messages, and the communications are being reported in every section of the country.

When people click on these email links, they are taken to sites designed to imitate an official-looking website, such as IRS.gov. The sites ask for Social Security numbers and other personal information, which could be used to help file false tax returns. The sites also may carry malware, which can infect people's computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.

For more details, see:

*   IR-2016-28, Consumers Warned of New Surge in IRS E-mail Schemes during 2016 Tax Season; Tax Industry Also Targeted.
*   IR-2016-15, Phishing Remains on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season.