SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Alert: Tax Identity Thieves And IRSIRS The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the revenue & tax service of the United States federal government responsible for collecting taxes and administering the Internal Revenue Code (the main body of federal statutory tax law.) It is part of the Department of the Treasury and led by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, who is appointed to a five-year term by the President of the United States. The duties of the IRS include providing tax assistance to taxpayers; pursuing and resolving instances of erroneous or fraudulent tax filings; and overseeing various benefits programs. Visit www.IRS.gov to learn more. Imposters Are Ready For Tax Season
Tax identity thieves and IRS imposters are ready for tax season, whether you are or not. Join the FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov and its partners for Tax Identity TheftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. Awareness Week to find out how to protect yourself, and what to do if you or someone you know runs into problems.
What is tax identity theft? It happens when someone uses your Social Security number (SSN) to file a phony tax return and collect your refund. You may not find out it has happened until you try to file your real tax return and the IRS rejects it as a duplicate filing.
IRS imposters are scammers who pretend they’re calling from the IRS. They claim you owe taxes and demand that you pay right now, usually with a gift card or prepaid debit card. They threaten you’ll be arrested or face other bad consequences if you don’t pay. But it’s all a lie. If you send the money, it’s gone.
Join the FTC and its partners for free webinars and other events during Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Learn how to reduce your chance of tax identity theft, the red flag warning signs of IRS imposters, and what to do if fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. happens to you. All of the events will have information for everyone. Some also will highlight special resources for active duty service members, veterans, older adults and small businesses. Ask questions too. Check out the Calendar below to find the event that’s best for you.
To start fighting tax identity theft right away, remember:
- Protect your SSN throughout the year. Don’t give it out unless there’s a good reason and you’re sure who you’re giving it to.
- File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can.
- Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
- Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over personal information.
- Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name.
Tax-Related Identity Theft
An identity thief may use your Social Security number (SSN) to get a tax refund or a job. This is tax-related identity theft. You may not know it has happened until:
- the IRS sends you a letter by mail saying they have gotten a suspicious tax return that uses your SSN, or
- you try to efile your return but it’s rejected as a duplicate because a return already has been filed using your SSN
If the IRS sends you a letter, follow the instructions in the letter. Then visit IdentityTheft.gov to report the identity theft to both the IRS and the FTC and get a recovery plan.
- Uncovering Tax-Related Identity Theft
- Dealing With Tax-Related Identity Theft
- Other Steps to Repair Identity Theft
Uncovering Tax-Related Identity Theft
If someone uses your SSN to file for a tax refund before you do, here’s what happens: When you file your return, IRS records will show that someone else has already filed and gotten a refund. If you file by mail, the IRS will send you a notice or letter in the mail saying that more than one return was filed for you. If you try to efile, the IRS will reject your tax return as a duplicate filing.
If someone uses your SSN to get a job, the employer may report that person’s income to the IRS using your SSN. When you file your tax return, you wouldn’t have included those earnings. IRS records will show you failed to report all your income. The agency will send you a notice saying you had wages that you didn’t report. But the IRS doesn’t know those wages were reported by an employer you don’t know, for work performed by someone else.
IRS notices about tax-related identity theft are sent by mail. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with a taxpayer by sending an email, text, or social media message that asks for personal or financial information. The IRS also does not call taxpayers with threats of lawsuits or arrests. And, the IRS will never ask you to wire money, pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card, or share your credit card information over the phone.
If you get an email, text, or other electronic message that claims to be from the IRS, do not reply or click on any links. Instead, forward it to email@example.com. And report IRS imposters to the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tigta.gov.
Dealing With Tax-Related Identity Theft
If the IRS sends you a notice or letter saying that someone used your SSN to get a tax refund, or saying there’s another problem, respond quickly and follow the instructions in the letter.
- Call the IRS using the telephone number given in the letter. You’ll need the letter and a copy of your prior year’s tax return when you call to help verify your identity. Visit the IRS’s guide, IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How It Works, for more information.
If you think someone used your SSN to file for a tax refund, but you haven’t gotten a letter from the IRS, use IdentityTheft.gov to report it to the IRS and FTC and get a recovery plan.
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov to complete an IRS Identity Theft Affidavit (IRS Form 14039) and submit it to the IRS online so that the IRS can begin resolving your case. You’ll also be reporting the identity theft to the FTC.
- File your tax return, and pay any taxes you owe. If you can’t efile your tax return, you may need to mail a paper return.
Other Steps to Repair Identity Theft
Next, it’s important to limit the potential damage from identity theft.
- Put a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Order your free credit reports and close any new accounts opened in your name.
- Consider placing a credit freeze on your credit reports.
Visit IdentityTheft.gov for help with these important steps.
Calendar of Anti-Scam Events
Each event is scheduled for an hour unless otherwise stated. Click the links to learn how to participate.
Wednesday, January 29, 1 p.m. ET
The FTC, Veterans Administration (VA), and U.S. Postal Inspection Service host a webinar on identity theft, tax identity theft, and more. Find out about special services available to veterans and active duty service members while getting a few days’ start on Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.
Monday, February 3, 2 p.m. ET
The first of two 30-minute webinars hosted by the FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center. The February 3 webinar focuses on identity theft, its impact on victims, tax identity theft, and recovering from identity theft. The second webinar, on February 6, focuses on IRS imposters and other government imposterImposter An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost..
Tuesday, February 4, 2 p.m. ET
Protecting Sensitive Business and Customer Information: Practical Data Security Practices for Your Business. Experts from the FTC and IRS discuss:
- Protecting your business, customers, and employees against tax identity theft
- Imposter scams that target small businesses
- Practical cybersecurity practices, and
- Responding to a data breachData Breach Whenever private information is seen by someone who should not have access, this is known as data exposure. It may also sometimes be referred to as a data leak or data breach. It might happen by accident or be caused by hackers who do it to cause harm to the individual or organization involved. It can be especially damaging to companies that store the credit card details and personal information of their customers.
Wednesday, February 5, 10 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET
AARP, the FTC, and the U.S. Treasury Department will hold two telephone Town Hall meetings, at 10 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET. Learn about tax identity theft, government impostor scams, recovering from fraud, and where to get help. Please join us at the meeting time that’s convenient for you.
Thursday, February 6, 2 p.m. ET
The FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center co-host a 30-minute webinar on government imposter scams. We’ll talk about IRS, Social Security Administration, and U.S. Census Bureau imposters, red flag warnings, protecting yourself, and how to recover if fraud happens to you.
Thursday, February 6, 3 p.m. ET
Join experts from the FTC, the Identity Theft Resource Center, and others for an #IDTheftChat on Twitter. We’ll offer tips on protecting yourself from tax identity theft and government imposters. Join the conversation at #IDTheftChat.
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Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- U.S. State Police (if you live in the U.S.) – they will take the matter more seriously and provide you with more help than local police
- Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. « www.IC3.gov »
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This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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