January 29, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon says some Missourians are getting calls asking for their Social Security number, supposedly to process their tax rebate. Because rebates may be coming from the federal government as part of an economic stimulus plan, Nixon says identity thieves are hoping to trick eager consumers into giving out their personal information. The thieves in this case claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service or the Missouri Department of Revenue.
This is similar to other phishing scams Nixon has warned about, in that a scammer claims to be with a reputable organization and asks for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers. Nixon says consumers should hang up on any such phone calls or delete any such e-mails.
“This is a simple attempt by crooks to take advantage of a story in the news and fool consumers into giving out valuable personal information,” Nixon said. “If the federal government decides to issue tax rebate checks, they will not be calling consumers first to ask for their Social Security number.”
The Attorney General says consumers should never give out personal information such as date of birth, Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers to anyone who contacts them, whether by phone, e-mail or any other method. Consumers should only divulge such information when they have initiated the contact.
Missourians who receive these phone calls should report them to Nixon’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or file a consumer complaint online at ago.mo.gov.