February 23, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon says his office is starting to get consumer complaints about a familiar scam during tax time - con artists claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, asking for personal information.
In the phone call, consumers say someone poses as an IRS agent and claims there is a problem with the consumer's tax return. In another scenario, the caller says the consumer qualifies for a speedy refund. In either case, the caller asks to verify personal information, including Social Security or bank account number.
“These calls are not from the IRS,” Nixon said. “This is nothing more than a trick to get consumers scared or excited enough to give up some precious personal information.”
Nixon says legitimate organizations don't call consumers and demand Social Security or banking numbers, so consumers should only give out that information when they have initiated the contact.
The scam may also happen via e-mail. Web users each year report getting e-mails that appear to be from the IRS, which ask the consumer to visit a Web site and enter personal information. This e-mail tactic, known as “phishing,” is also a scam, Nixon says, regardless of who the sender appears to be.
Missourians should never divulge their personal information to anyone who calls or e-mails them. Instead, they should report the contact to his Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or obtain a complaint form off his Web site, ago.mo.gov.
Nixon says Missouri's No Call law has helped reduce not only unwanted telemarketing calls but also telemarketing fraud. Residents not yet on the Attorney General's No Call list can sign up online by going to ago.mo.gov or by calling toll-free 1-866-NOCALL 1 (1-866-662-2551).