Service of There’s a New Scam Every Day: IRS’s Latest

October 6th, 2016

Categories: Scams, Taxes

IRS

Most working people pay Federal taxes, [even if a prominent presidential candidate apparently doesn’t], which must be why there’s yet another IRS scam in the land. The number of potential targets is huge and boy is it profitable. According to Laura Saunders in “The New IRS Email Scam,” in The Wall Street Journal, since 2013 almost 9,000 people have forked over $47 million +.

We’ve previously written about the phone swindle that threatens jail and worse if the prospective victim doesn’t respond immediately to a voice message and pay up. Saunders wrote: “Just recently, a new scam has started involving fake tax bills tied to the Affordable Care Act.” If you get an email CP-2000 notice you’ll know it’s fake because the IRS doesn’t communicate with you that way.”

However, the clever scammers are also mailing printed notices via standard mail which is how the IRS communicates. “Genuine versions of such notices are computer-generated letters asking for payment based on a mismatch between a taxpayer’s return and what’s reported by a third party, such as interest on a bank account. The fake notices typically ask victims to pay a balance due in connection with Affordable Care Act health coverage for 2014. Taxpayers without proper coverage owe a penalty.”

Saunders reported that CP-2000 notices are usually six to sevenFederal Taxes pages while the fake, in one instance, included a payment voucher and was three. Language and typeface mimic the real ones. Another crucial difference: The fake asks victims to make out checks to I.R.S.; the legitimate to the U.S. Treasury. Some IRS scammers ask to be paid by prepaid debit card or iTunes gift card!

According to Saunders the IRS warns anyone who receives such an email not to reply or open any attachments or links but should forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.

The threatening robocalls followed us from upstate New York to Manhattan where we received another one as recently as a week ago but we don’t know anyone who got a fake CP-2000 tax notice email or letter so far—and you?

Phishing

Tags: , ,

6 Responses to “Service of There’s a New Scam Every Day: IRS’s Latest”

  1. Mervyn Kaufman Said:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever received such a message from the IRS,
    but I have received similar official-looking and very threatening
    emails that have an official look (a seal or logo) but, on examination,
    are fakes. It’s very scary. Anyone reasonably clever with his or
    her computer options can, with ease, produce something that
    looks like holy writ.

    Not long ago, I got an emergency message—from Apple, I think
    it said—that indicated that my system had been hacked and that
    I had to take immediate action by calling such-and-such number.

    Having been hacked before, I went on alert and immediately
    phoned. I was connected to someone who—how can I say
    this appropriately?—didn’t sound professional. And his words
    were muted by loud background noise (other people on phone
    calls). The guy told me my “problem” could be rectified by
    turning over my computer electronically to his particular office
    and the fee would be $3,500, payable in advance.

    I remember taking a breath, pondering a moment and then
    saying I’d have to think about it and get back to him. “What’s
    your phone number?” I asked.

    And the line immediately went dead. I guess I’d been a little
    slow to spot a scam, but I didn’t succumb. I wonder how many
    other anxious users succumbed. . . and got taken! Since then,
    I’ve been suspicious of every email solicitation I get.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Merv,

    A friend downloaded a dirty attachment or link on his office computer and the hacker held his computer’s files hostage. To get it back he was supposed to send money–I think it was under $1,000. I’d heard about this scam and asked office mates who move countless company operations to the cloud what he should do. They suggested having a flawless backup system so that you can tell such hackers to fly a kite as you have everything stored elsewhere. They explained you don’t know what they’ve done to what they send back to you and even IF they will send anything back after getting your money.

    What a world.

  3. hb Said:

    I must be on a dozen telephone and internet “gullibles” lists! It seems I receive at least one such call or message a day.

    Apart from the wasted time, aggravation, and obvious risks involved, there are more subtle risks to this. Maybe some of these scam like callers are legitimate information seekers or salesmen.

    A couple of days ago, I received a “cold call” from what appeared to be an old fashioned stock tout about a stock I acquired years ago which had “gone South.” I liked the voice I heard and listened. The man was likeable and well-informed about the company, and we talked a while. Spontaneously, although I tried to discourage him from expecting to receive any business from me, I gave him my email address. Of course, I immediately regretted doing so, and was sure that I would soon find myself destitute. It turned out that he was absolutely legitimate, worked for a relatively small New York Investment Bank and had sent me quite useful information.

    Earlier this year, a distant cousin who teaches History at Harvard, sent me the English sounding name and email address of a supposed graduate student seeking his PhD at the University of Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy, who had “cold called” him seeking information about family members who had worked in Italy to include in his thesis. For some reason, although I’ll admit I never heard of the University of Cagliari having American graduate students, I wrote him back and we corresponded. When I told my wife, she was sure I was about to be scammed, but eventually I met the young man and he was legitimate enough, although full of crazy ideas about the importance of American influences in the course of Italian postwar politics.

    To quote George Bernard Shaw, ‘You Never Can Tell.”

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    hb,

    I don’t think the risks you took in either case were worth it.

    It is far too soon to know whether you might be in trouble by giving your email address to the first person you mention in your comment. If you need/want a reputable, honest stock broker, I know many people who have the greatest confidence in theirs. Giving even a zip code to a stranger on the phone is nuts and irresponsible. It might have been a test to see how far you would go in future.

    As for getting in touch with someone who came through someone you hardly knew–I don’t care if he worked at Harvard or the University of I Never Heard of It–who was a cold call to this person to boot, is also asking for trouble.

    It’s a shame that folks must think like this. If you don’t, you are a prime candidate for the next big scam that comes along.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    The fake emails have made the news, and that’s an easy one, since the IRS does NOT send emails.

    The letter will cause trouble, especially to those who have never received mail from that agency, thus making it difficult to smell a rat. Best not respond to anything. I’ve been receiving all manner of demands for money, along with threats if I don’t pay up for years. One eventually develops a shell.

    Good news is that Indian (Hindu) authorities have caught hundreds of scammers, whose goal is to fleece American citizens, and reportedly have their sights set on many more of the sleazy set. They deserve a world of thanks! http://mobile.nytimes.com/aponline/2016/10/06/world/asia/ap-as-india-us-tax-scam.html?referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I didn’t know that and am also happy and relieved to read that so many scammers have been caught.

    The major tipoff that a letter in the mail is official is how you are supposed to make out the check: If not to the U.S. Treasury, then toss it.

    When I am suspicious of something that might possibly be real, regardless of how it gets to me, I contact the organization independently to find out if they were trying to reach me. It takes time, but it’s time well spent.

Leave a Reply


Clicky Web Analytics