Three Days…Applies To Fish And Relatives
Protection And Service
By MPO Jim Whitman, Winter Park Police Department
So, the holidays are over and all of your interactions with those distant relatives is in the rearview mirror. You kissed your aunt goodbye, patted your nephew on the head and extended your hand to your uncle as you held your front door open. But wait, that uncle hasn’t let go. Good ole Uncle Sam! He pulls you in and says that you will be dealing with him in just a few months. And he is right as Tax Season is right around the corner. Now that you have begun receiving all of your end of year paperwork, it is time to get to work on filing those taxes.
Every year, thousands of people across the United States report that they have fallen victim to tax fraud schemes. According to the Internal Revenue Service, telephone scams will become increasingly common over the next few months. They would like to remind you that The IRS 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 a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Call unexpectedly about a tax refund.
Tax payers who receive these calls should:
- Record the number and then hang up the phone immediately.
- Report the call to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484 or report the number to [email protected] and be sure to put “IRS Phone Scam” in the subject line.
The IRS would also like to alert you about a scam which has starting showing up the last few years wherein scammers claim to be able to suspend or cancel the victim’s social security number. It’s yet another attempt by con artists to frighten people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails. As always, never give anyone your full social security number over the phone or Internet.
This year, many Floridians suffered a loss due to the storms that ravaged our state. The IRS wants to help protect you from scammers looking to capitalize on those of us that were fortunate enough to have escaped mother nature’s wrath. Some thieves will pretend they are from a charity benefiting disaster victims. They do this to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Bogus websites use names like legitimate charities. Scammers even claim to be working for ― or on behalf of ― the IRS. The thieves say they can help victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds. Disaster victims can call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance line at 866-562-5227. Phone assistors will answer questions about tax relief or disaster-related tax issues.
Taxpayers who want to make donations can get information to help them on IRS.gov. The “Tax-Exempt Organization” search helps users find or verify qualified charities. Donors should not give out personal financial information to anyone who solicits a contribution. This includes things like social security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords.
Much of the information contained in this article was supplied by the Internal Revenue Service. If you would like more information on filing your taxes and how to protect yourself form IRS related scams, please visit their website at irs.gov. In the meantime, relish the fact that warmer weather will be here soon and that should give you some reprieve from those distant relative visits until next winter.