With tax season in full swing, officials with the Clarkstown Police Department are warning Rockland County residents to be aware of opportunistic IRS scammers who may attempt to scam residents in the area.
In an alert issued on Monday, the department warned residents that as you may be preparing and filing tax returns, be aware of IRS scammers, who may attempt to intimidate vulnerable people over the phone with threats of arrest if one doesn’t pay with an iTunes gift card.
Police said that under no circumstance should one provide a potential caller with any personal information and that one should hang up and call law enforcement officials who are investigating the scams.
A New City woman recently received a call from the "IRS," police said, with the scammer claiming that the woman owed money and would be arrested if she did not pay over the phone. The woman proceeded to call the Clarkstown Police Department, where she was alerted that it was a fraud.
The alert comes on the heels of a warning from the IRS regarding cybercriminals.
According to the IRS, during the last two tax seasons, cybercriminals tricked payroll personnel or people with access to payroll information into disclosing sensitive information for entire workforces. The scam affected all types of employers, from small and large businesses to public schools and universities, hospitals, tribal governments and charities.
In total, more than 900 phishing reports were filed with the IRS in 2017, after just 100 were reported the year before. Last year, more than 200 employers were victimized, which translated into hundreds of thousands of employees who had their identities compromised.
According to the IRS, scammers “do their homework, identifying chief operating officers, school executives or others in positions of authority. Using a technique known as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES), fraudsters posing as executives send emails to payroll personnel requesting copies of Forms W-2 for all employees.
An alert was issued by the IRS, noting that the organization does not:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
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