Scam alerts for tax season | Better Business Bureau

As Washingtonians prepare for another tax season, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, along with several federal agencies—is reminding them to beware of scams and identity theft.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015 1:59am
  • Business

As Washingtonians prepare for another tax season, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, along with several federal agencies—is reminding them to beware of scams and identity theft.

According to the Internal Revenue Service and BBB investigators, an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam continues to run rampant. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus identification badge numbers. Victims are told they owe money and must pay through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses, the scammers threaten with arrest, deportation or suspension of a driver’s license.

“These criminals try to scare and shock you into providing personal financial information on the spot while you are off guard,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.”

According to BBB scheme records, the IRS scam remains at the top of the list with 64 reports in 2014.

“The impostors cast a wide net in hopes of catching unsuspecting consumers when they are the most vulnerable,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “We’ve even seen instances where the scammers claim to have a refund check for the victim in hopes of tricking them into sharing private information.”

In an effort to promote awareness, the Federal Trade Commission kicked offTax Identity Theft Awareness Week today. The agency has provided a list of tools to help consumers prevent phishing, preparer fraud and other scams.  The FTC will host a webinar to educate the public.

BBB encourages consumers to be aware of tax season scams and offers this advice on filing safely:

  • Identify scam calls: The IRS will never call taxpayers to demand a payment or require them to use a specific payment method for their taxes. The agency will also never threaten to bring in local police to arrest a consumer for not paying.
  • Hire a trusted tax preparer: Consumers should be careful when choosing tax preparers. Unscrupulous preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns to defraud their clients. BBB has a list of BBB Accredited accountants that consumers can trust.
  • File a complaint: Consumers who have been a victim of tax scams or identity theft should file a report with BBB or the FTC.

More in Business

Seattle’s misstep highlights need for new approach

Last week, Seattle’s City Council did an “about face” revoking the onerous… Continue reading

Washington’s expensive culvert court case

Too much money is spent in court where it should go to increasing the salmon population

Lt. Dan needs lots of helping hands

Gary Sinise formed the “Lt. Dan Band” in early 2004 and they began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Sinise often raised the money to pay the band and fund its travel.

New Enumclaw wine bar aims for broad audience

Bordeaux Wine Bar is scheduled to be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

Streamlining regulations makes more housing affordable

There were over 21,000 people homeless in Washington State last year.

New approaches needed to fight super wildfires | Don Brunell

Last year, wildfires nationwide consumed 12,550 square miles, an area larger than Maryland.

Skilled trade jobs go unfilled in our robust economy

Known as blue collar jobs, they routinely pay $45,000 to $65,000 a year or more.

Streamlining regulations helps Americans compete

The cost of regulations is a key American competitiveness issue. It is a major reason our companies re-locate to other countries and our manufacturers and farmers have difficulties competing internationally.

Water pressure mounting in West as population spikes

What is happening in California with water allocation disputes is a harbinger of what is to come in our state as well.

Railroads implementing positive track

While the investigation continues into the deadly AMTRAK derailment near Dupont, the clock continues to tick on the implementation of Positive Track Control (PTC). The deadline is Dec. 31, 2018.

Keep the holiday spirit all year long | Don Brunell

During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to giving — not just giving gifts, but donating our time and money to charities, disasters and community programs.

Finding balance in occupational licensing

Recently, the Institute for Justice (Institute) determined state licensing barriers for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs not only hurts people trying to establish themselves in a profession, but annually drives consumer prices up by $203 billion.