One thing we can all be sure of every year is filing our taxes. The sheriff’s office reminds you that fraud continues to be a threat in Pinellas County. The Economic Crimes Unit usually sees an increase in scammers who may contact you during tax season.
The typical scenario involves a caller who pretends to be the IRS and demands payment over the phone. The scammer tells their potential victim that they owe taxes to the IRS and that there is an active warrant out for their arrest. Then, they instruct citizens to purchase pre-paid cards and provide the numbers to them.
Follow these five tips to avoid becoming a victim of an IRS scam:
Thoroughly research any software or security settings to ensure that your computer or other devices are protected. Your personal information, like your cell phone number, could be sold to third parties without your knowledge.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi when completing your tax return.
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message, telephone, or social media to request financial information. If an unknown person attempts to contact you, don’t respond.
The IRS does not leave pre-recorded voicemails that are threatening or urgent. If they say you will be arrested, deported, or that your driver’s license will be revoked unless you pay them money immediately, this is a good sign that it is a scam. If you get an email asking for personal information, do not reply to it, open any attachments, or click on any links. The IRS’s official website is IRS.gov, so beware of other versions of it, like IRS.org or IRS.net.
If the caller asks you for a credit card, gift card, pre-paid debit card, iTunes card, or wire transfer, do not give it to them. The IRS does not use these payment methods; they mail paper bills to you. If you think you owe money to the IRS, visit: http://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account.
Filing your taxes should never result in fraud. Report suspicious activity to the sheriff’s office by calling us at 727-582-6200.
Non Emergency Line: (727) 582-6200 | In an Emergency call 911ADA info