Connect with us

Local News

The Internal Revenue Service shares tips to avoid holiday scams



Billings, Montana – The Internal Revenue Service provided advice on how to avoid falling for a scam throughout the holiday season.

“What we see during the holidays, or anytime there’s a lot going on, there’s always an uptick in scams,” Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigations in the Denver Field Office Andy Tsui said.

Public affairs officer for the IRS Joe Simms claimed he was recently the target of a scam.

“I received a call from someone posing as an Amazon employee,” Simms said. “And they said there were unauthorized charges on my account. There were about three laptops and two Ipads. And they suspected that I was a victim of identity theft. That’s what they told me. So, they forwarded me over to someone who said they were a Treasury Agent. And then, ran off a badge number to seem somewhat official. And they said ‘yes’ we need to get some information from you.”

Simms said he didn’t give out any information. Instead, he hung up and called Amazon. They confirmed it was a scam and Simms changed his Amazon password.
“If it doesn’t sound right, just hang up,” Simms said.
Special Agent Tsui said they are seeing an increase right now in boiler room scams- a scheme that uses high-pressure sales techniques to convince people to invest in fictitious investments.
He said the caller often doesn’t try to get money right away. Instead, they try to get information.
“Now we’re seeing a more patient scam where they’re trying to get bits and pieces of your information first,” Tsui said. “And then, they are able to target that person down the road.”

The IRS gave the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of boiler room scams:

• Don’t complete online requests for personal information from websites asking if you are interested in investing. Fraudsters use that information to target potential victims.
• Don’t take a website at face value. A website shouldn’t be the only evidence that a cold caller represents a legitimate investment company. Fraudsters clone real investment company websites or purport to be from real investment companies that don’t have websites.
• Double check employment information. Just because a cold caller uses the names of legitimate brokers listed on the internet doesn’t mean they are affiliated with those brokers.
• Do your own research. Fraudsters use online platforms to generate fictitious performance data for stocks that don’t really exist.
• If you find yourself a victim of one of these schemes, do not pay a fee or tax to the fraudsters to withdraw money. You will end up losing more money and then the fraudsters will end communications with you.
• Report fraud to law enforcement.

Joe Simms with the IRS gave the following information to report suspected fraud:

“If your viewers want to report fraud to the IRS, they can submit a Form 3949-A, or contact us at
Taxpayers who receive unsolicited emails or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, should forward the message to
Taxpayers can report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Reports can be made online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.”
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft as a result of a scam, visit the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft to know what steps to take.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *