Tax Scams

Watch out for this Scary Tax Scam!

Currently there is an aggressive form of tax scam that is threatening our residents. These scammers will threaten to call the police or may even tell you that the police are on the way to your home. They may threaten to foreclose on your home or repossess your car. If you are a resident originally from a different country, they may threaten deportation.

You may receive a call from an “automated recording” giving you instructions on where to send money or you may get a call from an actual person who is pretending to be from the IRS.

Two phone numbers that these calls have come from are 206-451-0992 and 509-643-4437. The scammers may also use a number with a Washington DC Prefix (202) to make you believe that the call really is from the IRS

The IRS will NEVER call you at home about your tax debt – they will only contact you via U.S. Mail.

Scammers will often prey on seniors because they may
• Have regular income and accumulated assets
• Be trusting and polite
• Be lonely and socially isolated
• Be vulnerable due to grief from the loss of a spouse, family member, friend, or pet

Scammers will also prey on non-native English speakers who may be unaware of the laws and are unfamiliar with these types of scams.

If you receive a call like this, contact the Fraud Hotline at 1.800.366.4484 or file a report online with the Treasury Inspector General IRS Scam Reporting Form

Read the full Bellingham Herald article here IRS phone scam hits Whatcom County residents

Computer Internet Scams

Phishing is authentic looking emails, text messages, and Web pages to trick unsuspecting users into revealing personal financial information. Here is a picture of a combination fake IRS email with a fake IRS Website in the body of the email (click to zoom in):

Fake IRS Email with Web Page

Spoofing is when someone disguises an Email address to look like that of someone you know or of a legitimate business/agency. Here is an example of a Spoofed IRS email (click to zoom in):

Fake IRS Refund Email

Ransomeware is when someone sends you an email with real links to a valid website but the email has an attachment. Once you open the attachment a virus downloads on to your computer and literally takes it hostage (that’s why it’s called Ransomeware) (click to zoom in).

Ransomeware Email

For more information on this particular scam, visit: Ransomware Article

Note how on all of these examples it is easy to be fooled – something about them looks legitimate and that is how the scammers and hackers draw you in. The most important thing is to remember that the IRS will NEVER send you an email or text message to notify you of any refund or penalty. Visit IRS Report Phishing and other Scams for more information and reporting instructions.