The Times Journal & Russell County News
Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Watch for tax scams

As residents across Kentucky’s First District begin to file their annual federal tax returns, U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield is warning constituents to beware of several scams currently targeting taxpayers.

“While tax season this year will, happily, bring sizeable rebate checks to most Kentuckians, it will also bring more opportunities for con artists to dupe taxpayers out of their money,” Whitfield said. “I am committed to ensuring Kentucky residents have all the information they need to avoid falling victim to one of these scams.”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that there are currently several email and telephone scams which are using the IRS name fraudulently. These scams trick people into revealing personal and financial information such as Social Security, bank account and credit card numbers, which can then be used to commit identity theft. 

 If you believe you are the victim of a scam or have any questions, please call the IRS hotline at (800) 366-4484. The most recent scams the IRS is warning taxpayers to be aware of are described below.

Rebate Phone Call

At least one scheme using the word “rebate” as part of the lure has been identified. In that scam, consumers receive a phone call from someone identifying himself as an IRS employee. The caller tells the targeted victim that he is eligible for a sizable rebate for filing his taxes early. The caller then states that he needs the target’s bank account information for the direct deposit of the rebate. If the target refuses, he is told that he cannot receive the rebate.

This phone call is a scam. The IRS does not force taxpayers to use direct deposit. Those who opt for direct deposit do so by completing the appropriate section of their tax return, when they file; the IRS does not gather the information by telephone.   

Refund E-Mail

The IRS has seen several variations of a refund-related bogus e-mail which falsely claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he or she is eligible for a tax refund for a specific amount, and instructs the recipient to click on a link in the e-mail to access a refund claim form. The form asks the recipient to enter personal information that the scamsters can then use to access the e-mail recipient’s bank or credit card account.

This e-mail is a phony. The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mail about tax account matters to individual, business, tax-exempt or other taxpayers. Filing a tax return is the only way to apply for a tax refund. The only official IRS Web site is located at www.irs.gov.

Audit E-Mail

Another new scam contains features not seen before by the IRS. The e-mail notifies the recipient that his or her tax return will be audited, a technique calculated to get almost anyone’s attention. Unusual for a scam e-mail, it may contain a salutation in the body addressed to the specific recipient by name. Most scam e-mails seen by the IRS are sent using the same technique used by spammers, in which hundreds of thousands of messages are sent to potential victims based on Internet address. Because of the volume, the typical scam e-mail is not personalized.

This e-mail instructs the recipient to click on links to complete forms with personal and account information, which the scammers use to commit identity theft. This e-mail is a phony. The IRS does not send unsolicited, tax-account related e-mails to taxpayers.

Changes to Tax Law E-Mail

This bogus e-mail is addressed to businesses, accountants and “Treasury” managers. It instructs them to download information on tax law changes by clicking on a series of links to publications on businesses, estate taxes, excise taxes, exempt organizations and IRAs and other retirement plans. The IRS believes that clicking on a link downloads malware onto the recipient’s computer. Malware is malicious code that can take over the victim’s computer hard drive, giving someone remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information and send them to the scamster. There are other types of malware, as well. The urls contained in the link are not legitimate IRS Web addresses. All IRS.gov Web page addresses begin with http://www.irs.gov/.

Paper Check Phone Call

In a current telephone scam, a caller claims to be an IRS employee who is calling because the IRS sent a check to the individual being called. The caller states that because the check has not been cashed, the IRS wants to verify the individual’s bank account number. In reality, the IRS leaves it entirely up to the individual to choose to cash or not cash a paper check. The IRS does not contact taxpayers to verify account information.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Phone: 270-866-3191
Fax: 270-866-3198
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629
Phone: 270-343-5700
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