Overall the Eaton County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to 857 calls for service/events. Our higher call volumes occurred in the following areas: Alarms (21), Car Deer Accidents (23), Assist Citizen/Motorist Assists (38), Check Well Beings (18), Domestic Disputes (15), Shoplifting Complaints (33), Larcenies (13), Drug Offense/Overdose (3), Property Damage Hit & Run (15), Personal Injury Crashes (13), Property Damage Crashes (65), Suspicious Subject/Situation/Vehicle (43), Traffic Hazards (43), Traffic Stops (187), Traffic Violations (19), and Vacation Checks (17).
Even though the new year has just begun, 2020 tax scams are already underway. Here are four tax season scams you need to beware of -
The Canceled Social Security Number – This one uses robocalls claiming that law enforcement is going to suspend or cancel your Social Security Number (SSN) in response to taxes owed. This is 100% a scam. A person’s SSN will never get suspended. Plus, the IRS only contacts taxpayers through snail mail or in-person.
The IRS Impersonation Email – With this you might receive a message that claims to be from the IRS, either reminding you to file your taxes or offering you information about your refund. These spoofed sites collect any information you input, facilitating identity theft. They can also infect your computer with malware, allowing fraudsters to steal more data. The IRS does not send unsolicited emails or engage through text messaging or social media. And they will never ask you for personal information, such as your SSN, PINs or passwords.
The Bureau of Tax Enforcement - Many people know the IRS doesn’t ask for money over phone or email, so scammers are sending out letters. This mail will claim to be from the Bureau of Tax Enforcement and may mention the IRS, demanding immediate payment. While these letters look legit, the Bureau of Tax Enforcement does not exist.
While you shouldn’t ignore mail from the IRS, be sure it’s real. Official letters will always have a seal and a letter or notice number. You can also call the IRS directly to verify the information. Remember, if you decide to call, don’t call the number on the fake letter, as it could connect you to the fraudster. Instead, look up the number online.
The Ghost Tax Preparers - Taxes are complicated, which is why so many people rely on the skills of a preparer or CPA. However, be aware of scammers posing as professionals. These ghost preparers will take money to complete your taxes but won’t sign the return, making it look like you did the work yourself. They also often lie on the return to make you qualify for credits you haven’t earned or apply changes that will get you in trouble. Since they don’t sign, you’ll be responsible for any errors. At best, you’ll have to repay the money owed. At worst, you could be looking at an audit. Ensure your tax preparer has a valid preparer tax identification number (PTIN). These numbers are issued by the IRS and get updated each year. Plus, be sure the preparer signs your return before submission.
Yours in Public Safety,
Sheriff Tom Reich