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Sheriff’s Office issues warnings about scams

By Staff | Jan 13, 2009

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning to residents about scams circulating the area, especially during income tax season.
The Sheriff’s Office indicates that many scams are already circulating regarding rebates, refunds, tax law changes and that dreaded of all dreads … audits. If you receive an unsolicited call or e-mail from someone claiming to be with the IRS red flags should go up.
“With almost every newscast including at least one story about the economy and how President- elect Obama plans to stimulate the economy it is more important then ever that everyone is aware of these scams,” Sheriff Mike Scott said in a press release.
Rebate Call – “You are entitled to a sizeable rebate for filing your taxes early,” to process they require your bank account information for the direct deposit. If you refuse to supply this information then you will not receive the rebate.
Refund – Good news: you are entitled to a “refund.” At least this is what the e-mail claims. You are instructed to click on the link to access the refund claim form. The form asks for your personal information for the con-artist to use as they please.
Changes to the Tax Law – This e-mail alerts you of changes in the tax law with a focus on deductions and tax savings. When you click on the link you download a malware — codes that can take over a computer hard drive, giving someone remote access to the computer, or it could look for passwords and other information to send to the con-artist. These are just two examples of what malware is and can do.
Paper Check – “Your refund check has not been cashed,” says the caller. They need your bank account information to send you your refund. In reality the IRS leaves it up to you if you cash your check or not.
Audit – This e-mail will get everyone’s attention and the scammers know it. The e-mail directs you to click on the link to fill out the forms with personal and account information; which they use to steal your identity.
There are a few things to remember to keep from falling for one of these scams:
— The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails about tax account matters
— The IRS uses the information on your tax return to process your refund
— Filing a tax return is the only way to apply for a tax refund
— To track your refund go to www.irs.gov and click on Where’s My Refund?
— Anyone wishing to access the IRS Web site should initiate the contact by typing in www.irs.gov and not clicking on a link.
If you receive a suspicious e-mail or phone call the IRS would like you to report this by contacting them at phishing@irs.gov so they may track these scams.
For assistance, call the Sheriff’s Office Fraud Line at 239-477-1242
Source: Lee County Sheriff’s Office