Taxpayers need to be mindful of identity thieves when sharing personal tax information, according to the latest fraud alert issued by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday.
The alert featured a dramatization of a tax thief requesting a person’s tax returns, Social Security number and $100. In return, the thief said he will have money to return to the taxpayer within the next week.
In this situation, the taxpayer should immediately notify nearby police officers, Rouhan Ebrahim, deputy district attorney, said in the video.
“The way you treat a suspicious individual asking for your personal information in person is the way you should treat an online phishing scam,” Ebrahim said. “Online identity thieves will commonly send fake emails, texts or other messages impersonating an IRS employee or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies.”
The DA’s Office recommends people take note of the following tips to stay safe:
- Withhold all personal and financial information if you receive a solicitous email, text, online or other communications not initiated by the taxpayer.
- Do not click on suspicious links and be wary of suspicious email addresses and website URLs.
- Contact an the IRS or a tax professional through official channels if unsure.
For more information, watch Ebrahim elaborate further on how this scam operates in this video: https://da.co.la.ca.us/community/fraud-alerts/.
Those interested in more information can follow @LADAOffice on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news. The above information was shared with The Signal via a news release from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.