Daisy Flores, Gila County Attorney, has issued a consumer warning on the fraudulent use of the Internal Revenue Service name and logo by scamsters in a phishing, (as in "fishing for information" and "hooking" victims) scheme.
Current scams include phony e-mails that claim to come from the IRS and which lure the victims into the scams by telling them they are due a refund.
The "Get Tax Refund on your Visa or MasterCard" scheme has been reported by several people in their e-mails which ask for their personal information such as their Social Security numbers, credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates and ATM PIN codes to ensure the IRS can access the correct account to deposit the tax refund of $182.
Once the fraudsters trick the victim to reveal personal and financial information, they will steal the victim's identity.
Typically, identity thieves use someone's personal data to empty the victim's financial accounts, run up charges on victim's credit cards, apply for new credit cards, file fraudulent tax returns and commit crimes. Sadly to say, it can take years to clean up your identity and credit record once stolen.
Flores wants the consumer to be informed and to look for the following items which can warn you of a scheme or scam:
- Look for bad grammar.
- Disregard if anyone asks for financial information.
- The IRS never sends out E-mails; letters are about the only form of communication used.
- If someone calls you, get their name, then, call them back at the IRS.
- Do not use computer links given in E-mails, go to the IRS web site.
- Tax rebates in months not in tax season.
- The IRS will never ask for passwords or PIN numbers.
- Be skeptical of communications you receive from sources you are not expecting.
The good news is that you can help stop these scams and schemes by reporting them to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the toll-free hotline at 1-800-366-4484.
Lastly, if you have any doubts about the IRS and your refund, call them directly.