August 12, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • Page 17 Area IRS warns of scams involving official-looking details The Internal Revenue Service reminds consumers to avoid identity theft scams that use the IRS name, logo or website in an attempt to convince taxpayers the scam is a genuine communication from the IRS. Scammers may use other federal agency names, such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In an identity theft scam, a fraudster, often posing as a trusted government, financial, or business institution or official, tries to trick a victim into revealing personal and financial information, such as credit card numbers and passwords, bank account numbers and passwords, Social Security numbers, and more. Generally, identity thieves use someone’s personal data to steal his or her financial accounts; run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards; apply for new loans, credit cards, services, or benefits in the victim’s name; and even file fraudulent tax returns. “The scams may take place through e-mail, fax, or phone,” said New Jersey’s IRS spokesperson, Gregg Semanick. “When they take place via e-mail, they are called ‘phishing’ scams. The IRS does not discuss tax account matters with taxpayers by e-mail.” The IRS urges consumers to avoid falling for the following recent schemes: Making Work Pay Refund This phishing e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, references the president and the Making Work Pay provision of the 2009 economic recovery law. It says there is a refundable credit available to workers, consumers, and retirees that can be paid into the recipient’s bank account if the recipient registers their account information with the IRS. The e-mail contains links to register the account and to claim the tax refund. In reality, most taxpayers receive their Making Work Pay tax credit, which was designed for wage earners, in their paychecks as a result of decreased tax withholding, not as a lump sum distribution from a federal fund. Additionally, consumers and retirees who are not wage earners are not eligible for this tax credit. Inherited Funds, Lottery Winnings, Cash Consignment In this phishing scheme, recipients receive an e-mail claiming to come from the U.S. Department of the Treasury notifying them that they will receive millions of dollars in recovered funds or lottery winnings or cash consignment if they provide certain personal information, including phone numbers, via return e-mail. The e-mail may be just the first step in a multi-step scheme, in which the victim is later contacted by telephone or further e-mail and instructed to deposit taxes on the funds or winnings before they can receive any of it. Alternatively, they may be sent a phony check of the funds or winnings and told to deposit it, but pay 10 percent in taxes or fees. Thinking that the check must have cleared the bank and is genuine, some people comply. However, the scammers, not the Treasury Department, will get the taxes or fees. Form W-8BEN In this scam, fraudsters modify a genuine IRS form, the W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding, to request detailed personal and financial information. This could include nationality, passport number, bank account, and personal identification numbers, spouse’s name and mother’s maiden name, or other personal or financial information or security measures for financial accounts. The scammers may use the genuine form number and name or may make up a new form number, such as W-4100B2. They either e-mail or fax the form or letter. If only a letter, the letter contains the request for the personal and financial information. The letter, which claims to come from the IRS, states that the recipient will face additional taxes unless he or she quickly faxes the required information to the number provided by the scammer. In reality, taxpayers file the genuine Form W-8BEN with their financial institutions, not with the IRS. Additionally, the genuine W-8BEN does not request the taxpayer’s passport number, bank account number, security or similar information. Refund Scam The bogus e-mail, which claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he or she is eligible to receive a tax refund for a given amount. It instructs the recipient to click on a link contained in the e-mail to access and complete (continued on page 16) Tissue donation (continued from page 5) anterior cruciate ligaments, which is the main support structure of the knee and is frequently damaged by sports injuries. A 48-year-old woman in Michigan also received donated bone for repair of a seriously fractured bone, and a man in Georgia and a 32-year-old woman in Texas underwent spinal surgery using Drozd’s donated bone. McGlynn also advised that numerous hospitals across the country have received the donated tissue and will be using them in the future to help others. The NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally certified, state-approved organ procurement organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for the 4,300 New Jersey residents currently awaiting transplantation, and is part of the national recovery system, which is in place for the nearly 100,000 people on waiting lists. It was formed in 1987 and in November of that year, the state and federal governments passed the required request/ assured option legislation, which requires hospitals to offer the donation option to families of potential donors. 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