Attorney General Larry Long Warns of IRS Refund Scams
PIERRE, S.D.- Attorney General Larry Long said today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refund scams are resurfacing just in time for tax season and consumers should precede with caution when visiting websites that either associate themselves with the IRS or have the appearance of the IRS site.
There are two types of scams that target consumers. The first is the "phishing" scam where consumers receive email notifications that their tax return will be audited or that they are eligible for a refund. These emails ask the consumer to click on a link that will redirect them to a site that resembles the official IRS website. Bogus emails with the words IRS or government tend to make consumers believe they are coming from the federal government. The IRS does not send out unsolicited emails or ask for personal identifying information. If you receive an email that uses the IRS name call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify.
The second scam involves look-alike IRS websites. The official IRS website is www.irs.gov, but the look-alike sites which use a few different keystrokes are set up to redirect consumers to bogus websites. Once redirected to the fraudulent site the consumer will be asked to disclose personal information such as social security or bank account numbers. It is important to remember the official IRS website offers tax information for consumers, but the exchange of private financial information is limited. Use precaution when logging on to the IRS website and double check your internet address to ensure it is correct.
Attorney General Long is also anticipating scams associated with the economic stimulus package. The IRS is already reporting a scam related to these rebates. This one begins with a bogus phone call that informs the consumer they are eligible for a rebate, but it must be done by direct deposit so it is necessary to provide bank account information. Just like the other scams, the goal is to trick people into giving out their personal identifying information.
If you have been a victim of one of these scams or need any additional information contact the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or http://atg.sd.gov/Consumers.aspx.