The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Scammers phishing for income refunds

By Katie Hudson-Martinez/feature editor

It’s that time of year again; tax season is upon us and identity thieves are hard at work.

Many Americans are looking forward to income tax refunds and an added bonus in the coming months when the economic stimulus tax rebates will be mailed out.

A single taxpayer making under $75,000 per year will receive an additional $600, a married couple making under $150,000 will receive $1,200 and an additional $300 for each child. Individuals who make over the benchmark amounts will receive increasingly less on a sliding scale.

The first checks should be mailed in early May, but thieves are already foaming at the mouth and devising ways to part gullible individuals from their cash.

A slew of recent schemes has prompted the IRS to issue warnings about so-called phishing scams being done by telephone and e-mail.

Hundreds of people have reported being contacted by individuals pretending to be IRS agents who tell the scam victims they are being audited, that they have an additional rebate or refund coming or that a new tax law will get them a larger rebate.

These con-artists will then ask for bank information or Social Security numbers. In the case of some e-mails, the person is asked to download the information, which is actually a computer virus that allows the phisher remote access to all records.

According to the official IRS Web site, the IRS never sends unsolicited e-mails. Any e-mail that requests personal or banking information or instructs the reader to download something should be forwarded to the IRS fraud department at phishing@irs.gov.

The agency also clarified in a recent press release that it will not ask for bank information to be verified over the telephone. Such information is to be supplied only on official tax return documents.

For more information on protection from phishing scams, visit the official Web site at www.irs.gov.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian