By Dan Turner
Clark County Prosecutor
Fraud and scams targeting taxpayers are frequent around tax season. They are also likely to intensify over the next few weeks and months. The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office, Clark County Sheriff’s Department and local law enforcement have previously received complaints regarding suspicious letters and phone calls related to potential tax fraud schemes. These schemes include potential tax identity theft, IRS imposter scams, and phony claims of IRS lawsuits and similar bogus claims.
In light of these scams, the Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner encourages taxpayers to be vigilant and cautious regarding any potential scams. Taxpayers should keep the following information in mind. The Internal Revenue Service official website contains information related to potential scams. According to the IRS website, the IRS will never:
- call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
- demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount the IRS says you owe;
- require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card;
- ask for credit card numbers over the phone; or
- threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Many present scams and information for consumers and taxpayers may also be found at www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts. In the event a suspicious phone call is received from someone claiming to be from the IRS asking for money, the IRS encourages citizens to do the following:
- If you know or believe that you might owe taxes, you can contact the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can assist you with payment issues.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report suspicious calls or contacts to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov
- You can also file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Impostor Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
Consumers and taxpayers should also keep in mind that the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box. Additional information about tax scams is also available on IRS social media sites.
Do not give out personal information such as your social security number, bank account or credit card account information, or any other sensitive personal or financial information unless you know who is asking for it and why they need it. Additionally, if you have old or unnecessary documents which you wish to discard that contain personal or financial information, these should be shredded rather than simply thrown away.
In addition to reporting potential scams as outlined above, local citizens are encouraged to notify and report suspicious letters or phone calls to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department or Clark County Prosecutor’s office. Additionally, when reporting suspicious phone calls, consumers are encouraged to write down as much information as possible about the caller, including the name of the person calling, where they purport to be calling from and the phone number. Reports of scams may also be made to the Arkansas Attorney General by contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-482-8982 or by visiting the Arkansas Attorney General’s website at http://www.ArkansasAG.gov.