Tax Time Safety Tips

January 22, 2020

With identity theft on the rise this time of year, the Boise Police Department encourages citizens to submit their tax returns promptly.  Taxes are due by April 15th which means that identity thieves are already planning ways to steal tax refunds.  You should receive all your needed documents to file your taxes by early February, so don’t delay!  Thieves have been known to dig through trash or steal mail to obtain your personal information.  If your Social Security or Medicare number has been stolen, you will want to file before the identity thieves do.

  • If you file electronically, use a secure internet site and avoid public Wi-Fi locations like coffee shops, fast food establishments or the library.
  • If you mail your tax return, send it from a secure location like the post office (do not leave it in your mailbox with the flag up signally outgoing mail to anyone driving by your home).
  • Consider direct deposit of your tax refund -- you get your money faster and don’t have to worry about your refund check getting lost or stolen from your mailbox.
  • Remember to shred copies of your returns and tax documents that you no longer need.

The IRS will not contact you by email, social media, text or phone.  They will mail you a letter if they have a concern regarding your tax documentation.

If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS it may be a SCAM! Common scam tactics include saying that you owe back taxes or that you may face jail time due to taxes.  Every year, many individuals (and businesses) fall prey to those who rely on intimidation and the threat of arrest, deportation, or suspension of one’s driver’s license to coerce the taxpayer into providing financial information over the phone.  The scammer may also ask you to transfer money from your bank account.  Scammers use the postal mail, telephone, or email to contact taxpayers, and may alter their caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.  The scammer may even hang up and call back pretending to be from the local police department or Department of Motor Vehicles.  Please note that the IRS does not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.  (They will first mail you a bill if you owe them and they don’t accept payment in these forms.)
  • Threaten to have you arrested by the local police department for non-payment.
  • Ask for your passwords, social security number, PIN numbers, bank account, or a credit or debit card over the phone.

Don’t trust the caller just because they may know some information about you, and if you receive those annoying “robocalls” – don’t call back!  If you have questions about your tax debt, please contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or visit www.IRS.gov.  Their employees can assist you with your payment if there actually is a problem.  If you have been a victim of this type of scam, contact both the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (www.FTC.gov).  Remember, once you send the con artist your money – it’s gone!  So don’t be scammed by a scammer!

If you suspect a fraudulent return in your name, call 1-800-972-7660 or visit www.IdentityTheft.gov.  For any other questions, go to www.IRS.gov.

Contact: Boise Police Media Relations

(208) 570-6180 | BPDMedialine@cityofboise.org

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