BBB, Attorney General warns public about Tax Identity Theft

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A warning from the Better Business Bureau Northwest, and both the Washington and Idaho attorneys general: Beware of tax identity theft.

“This matter is very serious emergency and time sensitive,” recorded scam message. “My name is Elisa Cooper. I am calling you from Audit Commission Department of IRS. We have just received a notification regarding the tax filings headquarters of IRS. Your case file, which will get expired in the next 24 working hours and once it gets expired you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are forth serious allegations pressed on your name at this movement.”

“At this movement” is just one of many grammatical errors in this recorded scam call. But there are other things that give it away. The caller claims she’s from the Audit Commission Department. We checked and there is no branch at the Internal Revenue Service specifically named the audit commission department.

Unfortunately, some people, including local residents, have fallen for these types of scams and have lost money. There are common tax related scams to watch out for. Impostor scams, where they pose as agent and pressure you by demanding money or threatening jail time.

There are also tax relief scams of deceptive advertisements claiming to reduce a person’s tax liability. Scammers will often use official looking IRS notices or website to convince you into paying money, or giving away your personal information. And then there’s ID theft. The Better Business Bureau said scammers use stolen personal information, including falsified W-2 information to file fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name. In some cases, they said thieves stole W-2’s out of unsecured mailboxes.

To report a scam to the Federal Trade Commission, call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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