Tax season increases fraudulent calls

By Beanie Taylor - beanietaylor@elkintribune.com

JONESVILLE — As individuals expect returns on their taxes so do criminals.

This is why Dane Mastin, interim administrative chief for the Jonesville Police Department, has requested a reminder for people to pay attention.

“The IRS will not call you to tell you about money you owe them, and if not paid within a period of time, the police will be there to arrest you,” said Mastin.

Although Mastin reported no influx of concerned calls yet, his years of experience in the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office has led to the observation that fraudulent calls increase during tax season.

Other calls have been reported including alleged sweepstakes winners and overpayments.

“You have overpaid your account,” said one recent caller. “We would like to return that money to you if you could give me your bank account number so that I can verify it.”

An increase in fraudulent calls may be expected due to the Equifax data breach which was discovered on July 29, 2017.

As one of the three major credit reporting companies, this breach has been estimated to have impacted 143 Americans.

Equifax has taken measures to rectify the situation, which can be followed at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

Individuals are reminded to never share banking or credit card information over the phone to anyone who calls.

Reputable companies will have publicly posted phone numbers which will allow verification.

Technology also provides opportunities for fraud.

It’s never a good idea to click on links from unsolicited emails and to be observant of what time an email comes through as cyber ransom viruses may be attached to emails purported to be sent from known individuals at unusual times.

Anyone who is a victim of fraud is asked to report it.

“First, file a report with your local police department,” according to www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds.

The government website contains guidelines for where to report different varieties of fraud and scams as well as helpful hints to avoid becoming a victim.

Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.

By Beanie Taylor

beanietaylor@elkintribune.com