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Tax ID Scammers Don’t Take Holiday Break in NH

PHOTO: Consumer advocates warn scam artists are adding a new twist in phone calls to New Hampshire to try to get consumers to give up personal tax identification numbers. Credit: @mlcliff
PHOTO: Consumer advocates warn scam artists are adding a new twist in phone calls to New Hampshire to try to get consumers to give up personal tax identification numbers. Credit: @mlcliff
December 29, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. – If you think scam artists take time off during the holidays, think again.

Local consumer advocates warn that scammers have added a new twist to an ongoing tax ID scam.

Norma Boyce, a volunteer fraud fighter with AARP New Hampshire, says the scam involves a one-two punch.

The first call comes from someone claiming to be with the IRS, saying you owe back taxes – and please pay now by credit card.

Boyce says most people know to hang up, so the fraudsters try again claiming they are from an agency like the sheriff's office.

"There's a follow up call that says, ‘We are going to in fact stop you from driving and we're going to arrest you, unless you pay up the money with a credit card,’” she says. “They sound very, very real, they are scaring the dickens out of people, but they are very bogus."

Boyce cautions consumers not to give personal information over the phone unless they have initiated the contact.

She says the IRS does not notify people by telephone even when they do owe money.

As an extra layer of protection she suggests that you not carry your Social Security Card or any other documents that contain your Social Security number.

Boyce says ID theft has ranked number one in the Dirty Dozen listing of common scams compiled by the Internal Revenue Service for the past three years, and she explains how it works.

"When somebody borrows an innocent person's Social Security number, and they use that Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return, which obviously results in a refund,” she explains. “And they take that refund and they run away and they are never to be found again."

In the first nine months of 2013 the IRS says it prevented more than a million theft-based returns worth more than $8 billion.

If you think you may have been the victim of tax identity fraud, Boyce says you should contact the credit bureau, your local police department and the IRS Tax Identity Theft Unit.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH