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Tax-Time Scammers Target Granite State

Experts say even the most savvy people can be tricked by tax scams that threaten arrest or other legal action. (AARP New Hampshire)
Experts say even the most savvy people can be tricked by tax scams that threaten arrest or other legal action. (AARP New Hampshire)
April 9, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. — With the end of tax season approaching, officials are warning Granite Staters to be cautious of suspicious phone calls.

The Attorney General's office said it has received about 100 complaints related to Internal Revenue Service scams in the past week. Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti explained the calls are either a live person or recorded message claiming to be from the IRS, and threatening arrest or other legal action unless there is an immediate payment for delinquent taxes.

"A lot of very savvy people get tricked by this stuff. It is disconcerting - and for some people, frightening - to be told that they're subject to being arrested, even if they know that they don't have any IRS issue,” Boffetti said. “But if you do get tricked into making the payment, you're probably going to take that loss. "

Boffetti said often, the money goes quickly overseas and is nearly impossible to track. He added the IRS does not contact taxpayers through phone calls or email to request personal or financial information. If there is a tax issue, the agency sends a letter through the mail.

Based on the information from complaints, Boffetti noted these particular scam artists are targeting older adults.

"There are so many data breaches that have happened," he said. "And my theory is that this information from the data breaches is sold off to scam artists and they use that to determine who may be more vulnerable. And they've decided that senior citizens are a population that they want to target."

If someone receives one of these calls, his advice is to not engage with the person on the other line and immediately hang up. The Attorney General's office said personal information should never be provided over the phone or email to anyone, unless the source of the inquiry has been verified.

More information is available at AARP.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NH