JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
Editor’s Note: This is a monthly installment Air Force Office of Special Investigations provides to inform and educate the U.S. Air Force and Joint Base Langley-Eustis community regarding fraud. Each month, the newsletter will contain information regarding a specific fraud topic and what you can do to identify and help stop fraud.
In 2016, AFOSI units received multiple reports of U.S. Air Force members receiving intimidating phone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS agents or employees.
These scam artists routinely make unsolicited phone calls to taxpayers during the peak of tax filing season and have threatened arrest, deportation, court action or license revocation in order to steal money and the personal tax information of private citizens.
Individuals have also been targeted via phishing emails, text-messages and automated messages known as robocalls. Most often, IRS impersonators contact victims using IRS titles, spoofed caller ID numbers and phony badge numbers.
In many instances, victims are ordered to pay tax bills via cash or pre-paid debit cards.
In one variant of the scheme, the scam artist will inform an individual they are entitled to a large refund and ask for identity verification, fooling the victim into providing sensitive personal information which could be used to file false tax returns.
Since 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the government entity tasked with auditing, inspecting and investigating inconsistencies within the federal tax system, has received about 896,000 reports of individuals contacted in IRS related tax scams. As a result, more than 5,000 victims have lost a total of more than $26.5 million.
Between 2015 and 2016, the number of reported IRS phone and email scams has increased 40 percent.
The top scams as identified by the IRS for 2016 can be found at: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-wraps-up-the-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams-for-2016 .
Military members should be familiar with the following potential indicators of IRS tax scams:
- Demands for immediate payment and/or failure to receive initial notifications via official mail.
- Demands for payment without the option to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Requests for credit or debit card information over the phone
- Requests for a specific method of payment; i.e. payment via prepaid debit card
- Threats of arrest for non-payment
If you or your unit would like additional information regarding this or any other fraud related topic or to report suspicious activity, please call the AFOSI office 757-764-7971 or email AFOSI.AFOSIDet201.email@example.com.
To report anonymous tips can be made by texting “AFOSI” along with any information to 274637.