Tax Season Brings out Scammers; IRS Warns of Phone and E-mail Scams

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The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to beware of several current e-mail and telephone scams that use the IRS name as a lure. The IRS expects such scams to continue through the end of tax return filing season and beyond. (see video below) The IRS cautioned taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams involving proposed advance payment checks.

Although the government has not yet enacted an economic stimulus package in which the IRS would provide advance payments, known informally as rebates to many Americans, a scam which uses the proposed rebates as bait has already cropped up.

The goal of the scams is to trick people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which the scammers can use to commit identity theft.

Typically, identity thieves use a victim's personal and financial 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, file fraudulent tax returns or even commit crimes. Most of these fraudulent activities can be committed electronically from a remote location, including overseas.

Committing these activities in cyberspace allows scamsters to act quickly and cover their tracks before the victim becomes aware of the theft. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years -- and their hard-earned money -- cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their reputations and credit records. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, may be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.

The most recent scams brought to the attention of the IRS are described in this video...

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That's just awful. Scammers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

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