As the Tax Season gets underway, the San Angelo Police Department is warning everyone about “Phishing” scams from individuals claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Scammers who are posing as tax officials are threatening Texans with fines, arrest, and other penalties if they do not immediately pay a false claim of unpaid taxes. We want to remind consumers to be vigilant and aware of dishonest individuals posing as public tax officials who use fear tactics and intimidation to cheat taxpayers out of their hard-earned money. We would also like you to know how and who to report these scams to — even if you don’t fall for them. This release contains important information with embedded links that warrant saving for future reference.

Phishing scams are particularly relevant during the tax season. Taxpayers receive emails with the IRS logo and/or claiming to be from the "Taxpayer Advocate Service." The email asks the taxpayer to resolve an issue with his or her "2015 filing" by clicking a link within the email. The web page accessed then solicits personal information such as the recipient's legal name and contact information. Legitimate IRS Officials recommend consumers report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov. Recent scams have used the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to attract potential victims.   Also, if you've experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.

Telephone scams are conducted by a caller who instructs recipients to immediately make payments for back taxes through wire transfers or a pre-loaded debit card like Green Dot MoneyPak®.   Through “Telephonic spoofing" techniques, the scam phone numbers appear to be that of the IRS or local police departments. Scammers have also used fake names and IRS badge numbers, and may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security Number. In some cases, these calls have been accompanied by a fake IRS e-mail sent to support the claim. If victims appear hesitant or unwilling to comply, the caller turns hostile by threatening police arrest or the loss of one's home. If the victim does not respond to these threats, the scammer may have others call the victim pretending to be from a government entity such as a local law enforcement agency. *Officials with Green Dot MoneyPak® warn consumers if they give their MoneyPak number to a criminal, Green Dot is not responsible for paying you back and the funds are not insured against loss.

Other tax scams come via paper mail, fax, fake websites, and by text message or Short Message Service (SMS).

For more information about IRS scams, visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing