ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. - With tax season nearing its conclusion, the Clarkstown Police Department is cautioning homeowners to be vigilant and on alert for scammers looking to take advantage of residents.
According to the IRS, in recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication. This week, the IRS issued an alert, warning of several tax scams and consumer alerts.
Recently, a 33-year-old woman from West Nyack contact police in Clarkstown to report that she had received a phone call from a 301 (western Maryland) area code, claiming to be the IRS. The caller then claimed that she owed nearly $7,000 to the IRS and would be arrested if she did not pay, police said.
The caller then offered to reduce the debt to $2,000, but requested that the payment come in the form of iTunes gift cards and asked for her account numbers over the phone as an immediate form of payment.
Police said that the woman purchased the gift cards and provided her account information before realizing it was a scam. When she immediately contacted iTunes support to stop the payment, she was told that the cards were already redeemed.
“The victim was informed that this is a known IRS scam and that the number she was called from was a phishing scam, making the phone number untraceable,” police noted. “As we approach the end of tax season, these scams become more and more frequent.”
The IRS notes it will never:
- 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 immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes 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.
“The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. In addition, IRS does not threaten taxpayers with lawsuits, imprisonment or other enforcement action. Being able to recognize these telltale signs of a phishing or tax scam could save you from becoming a victim.”
A complete list of tax scams and consumer alerts can be found here .