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Fraud Updates – Jury Duty, Fake Lawsuits, IRS Debt Collections

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The scammers never stop trying out new ways to defraud people.  There are a couple of new scams that you should be aware of.

Fake Lawsuits:  In this identity theft scam, a person calls and informs you that you are being sued and they need to know when you will be home so the court documents can be delivered. They will ask you to call back via a 1-800 number to schedule delivery of the documents.  When you make that call, they will insist that they need your social security number and birth date to pull up your case.  Your best bet to avoid this and many other scams…never give your confidential information out over the phone.

Missed Jury Duty:  Someone calls your home and tells you that you failed to appear for jury duty and therefore are in danger of being arrested. The only way to avoid your impending arrest is to bring cash (callers ask anywhere from $500 to $5000) and meet them at an address close to the courthouse.  When you do that they will nullify your arrest warrant.  Your best bet – never pay anything in cash and only deal with the courthouse or law enforcement agency directly.  You can always make a follow-up call to someone in your county government to validate the information you have been given if you’re concerned about it.  Just make sure the number you call is actually the number for the courthouse or law enforcement agency.

Update on IRS Scams:  For years, you’ve been warned that the IRS never attempts debt collection over the phone.  Well all that has changed…sort of.  In April of this year, the Internal Revenue Service announced that they will now be using private debt collectors for taxpayers who have had long overdue accounts.  There are certain protocols they will follow before attempting to reach you by phone.  Here’s how it works:

  • If you have a long overdue federal tax account, the IRS will contact you by mail and let you know that your account is being turned over to a private debt collection agency.  The letter will include the name of the company and contact information.
  • The private debt collector will then send you another letter confirming the account transfer.  All of this will happen before anyone tries to contact you by phone.
  • The debt collector will be able to discuss payment options with you, but the only way you can pay your tax debt is electronically or by check, payable to the US Treasury.
  • Only four agencies are authorized to collect for the IRS.  They are CBE Group of Cedar Falls, IA; Conserve of Fairport, NY; Performant of Livermore, CA; and Pioneer of Horseheads, NY.

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