Monday, April 3, 2017

Identity thieves use video relay services to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing people

Every day scammers come up with new ways to steal identities and personal information. Some scammers pretend to be from the IRS with one goal in mind: to steal money.

Be aware that con artists will use video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Don’t become a victim. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals should avoid giving out personal and financial information to anyone they don’t know. Always confirm that the person requesting personal information is who they say they are.

Do not automatically trust calls just because they are made through VRS. VRS interpreters don’t screen calls for validity.

The IRS has procedures in place for anyone experiencing tax issues. If you receive a call through VRS from someone claiming to be from the IRS, keep in mind the IRS will never:
  • Demand immediate payment and require the payment be made a specific way, such as by prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. In most cases, the IRS will not call you about taxes owed without first mailing you a letter.
  • Threaten that local police or other law-enforcement groups will immediately arrest you for not paying a tax bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Receive a suspicious call? Here’s what to do:
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing, and owe taxes or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 through VRS. IRS employees can help with a payment issue or confirm if there really is a tax issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received an IRS letter or the caller made bogus threats or demands as described above), call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, at 800-366-4484.
  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant. If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

Additional Info:
  • IRS Tax Tip: IRS, Partners Add New Safeguard for 2017; Ask for Your Help to Combat Identity Theft
  • Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts

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