It’s the time of year when phone and online tax scams start to appear.
It’s tax time, and along with anticipation of a refund, or dread of a big payment, come inevitable scams.
A phone scam has recently targeted students and employees. The scam callers have found a way to “spoof” caller ID so that it appears that they are calling from a phone number associated with the Colorado State University Police Department, the FBI or the IRS. CSUPD has received reports about this phone scam using the university’s online directory information, and potentially social media, to find phone numbers and personal information about the students and employees they call. Today CSUPD received more than a dozen reports from the CSU community of someone who identified themselves as a CSUPD officer or investigator from a number that appeared to be the non-emergency number for the police department (970-491-6425). The person calling claims to represent CSUPD and demands money from the student or employee they have called, threatening to arrest or suspend them for various reasons. In other reports, the caller has said they represent someone from government agency such as the IRS. On the phone, they assert that the student or employee may be facing an arrest warrant for outstanding fines or that the individual owes back taxes, and discusses liens, court dates and wage garnishments. Important tips from CSUPD Virtually all attempts over the phone to solicit payment via PayPal, Western union or MoneyGram are fraudulent. Do not share sensitive, personal or financial information over the phone, even if the caller sounds legitimate and the information they are sharing is accurate. People who perpetuate phone scams go through extensive steps to make themselves look legitimate, so information from the caller or information on a website that is or appears to be affiliated with a business or agency that they claim to represent may not be truthful. - If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from a law enforcement agency who is demanding money, hang up and contact your local law enforcement agency to verify the information. - If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS or a government office, hang up and contact that office to verify legitimacy. Report these calls to the Federal Trade Commission (http://consumer.ftc.gov/) or, if the call involves accusations regarding taxes and IRS affiliations, report the call to the US Treasury Inspector General (http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/ig/Pages/default.aspx). - If you have been a victim of recent fraud by providing financial information to a caller, please call CSUPD at 970-491-6425. For more information about phone scams, visit http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams.