SPRINGFIELD, MO (01/26/18) - The Better Business Bureau is weighing in on taxpayers concerns and identity theft. It’s one of the most common scams and the BBB's Stephanie Garland says the IRS will only contact you via mail.
“So if you get any kind of voice mails from them and emails that’s going to be people pretending to be them and it’s not really legitimate," she says.
She explains that you should never give out your social security number. And statistics show that the average bank robber can steal $3,500 but the average person that steals your identity can actually steal $35,000.
“Tax identity theft has, actually, been the most common theft that has been reported to the Federal Trade Commission within the past 5 years," says Garland.
And people in Springfield are falling victim it. Just this week, four reports have been made.
With 20 reports, just in the last two months, here in the Springfield area the BBB says they’ve had complaints of the people saying the IRS is after them. On the BBB Scam Tracker calls continue to come in. But garland says don’t worry, the cops aren’t coming after you.
“So we want you to be very careful and we want you to know that the IRS will never throw you in jail," says Garland. "They don’t have the authority to do so.”
The IRS says on their website that with paperless e-filing, the scam is easier than ever before. To not fall victim the website recommends to file your taxes early, apply for an electronic filing pin number, and never give out your private information.
Next Monday starts Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. To learn how to reduce the chance you’ll be a victim follow this link https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0029-tax-identity-theft-awareness-week?utm_source=partners&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tax-idt-awareness-2018&utm_content=blurb3 for free webinars and Twitter chats.
Also, if you have already fallen victim you can go to https://www.bbb.org/en/us and file a report or call 800-908-4490 for an IRS identity theft specialist.