For Immediate Release
March 1, 2019
Kate Spiner, Director of Communications
Concord, NH – Ahead of Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, 2019, Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald urges New Hampshire residents to take added precautions to protect themselves from IRS-related scams which tend to increase during tax season. In 2017, the Attorney General's office received 471 reports related to IRS scams. In 2018, there were 984 such reports.
The Attorney General offers strategies individuals can employ today to better protect themselves and those most susceptible to scams including education, heightened awareness, and practicing added vigilance when answering unknown phone calls.
Individuals most commonly report receiving unsolicited calls fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS and demanding payment for delinquent taxes. The callers typically ask for some sort of immediate payment and threaten arrest, wage garnishment or other forms of legal process to coerce the payment.
The IRS continues to caution taxpayers that, with very few exceptions, their first contact with a delinquent taxpayer will not be a phone call but will be in the form of a letter from the IRS sent through the mail. The IRS also does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information and it never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone.
A second prevalent IRS-related scam being reported is tax-related identity theft. This can occur when the perpetrator uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Often, the victim is unaware that the theft has happened until the person files his or her return and only then discovers that a fraudulent return had already been filed and the refund sent to the thief.
The Attorney General recommends taking these steps to better protect yourself against scams:
If you become a victim of tax-related identity theft, you should:
Attorney General MacDonald also offers the following advice about how to reduce the risk of identity theft:
Other scams to be aware of that seek personal information or money include: Grandparents Scam, Romance/Sweetheart Scam, Home Improvement or Paving Scams, Lottery Scams, Utilities Scams, Charity Scams and others. More information and resources available at https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/consumer-alerts.htm .
New Hampshire consumers may file a formal complaint at: http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm or by calling the Attorney General's consumer information line at 1-888-468-4454.
New Hampshire Department of Justice
33 Capitol Street | Concord, NH | 03301