Archive for Thursday, March 5, 2009

Online scams become prevalent in tax season

March 5, 2009

Internet scams are becoming the easiest crimes to commit. The scams are often quick and simple, and it is difficult to trace the offender(s). During tax time, consumers need to keep their guard up for scams that target their tax returns. Thieves are getting more creative and have found ways to steal income tax refunds, access account numbers and Social Security numbers from taxes that have been prepared and submitted online.

One of the latest scams asks consumers to fill out an online form that requires their date of birth, passport number, Social Security number, bank accounts and even a mother’s maiden name. You are then asked to send this information to a location in New York with a guarantee of a quick return.

The IRS has stated scam e-mails are more prevalent than ever coming from 50 countries and offer tax refunds, linked to fake Web sites that ask for consumer’s bank and personal information. Last year the IRS shut down more than 2,000 fake Web sites, but since then 4,000 more were opened. So you can see they are surfacing as quickly as they can be shut down.

The IRS has stated it does not send out unsolicited emails asking for financial information of any kind. This year the IRS has also opened an online fraud detection and prevention site at irs.gov Here, consumers can find sample scams and tips to help prevent consumers from becoming victims. Consumers can also send scam IRS e-mails or Web sites to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS also states there are easy ways to spot fake -emails or fake requests for information. IRS officials recommend that you look for spelling and grammar errors, amateurish design and any mention of a refund. One of the biggest keys is if it doesn’t use “dot gov” it is not real.

Please use extra caution when doing anything on the Internet, especially your taxes. As always, if you feel you have been a victim of a crime, call your local police agency.

The Basehor Police Department can be reached at (913) 724-1370.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.