Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Attorney General Goddard is on the ball…Tax Rebate Scam Alert

Within minutes of President Bush signing the 168 billion economic stimulus package Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard alerted Arizonans of an aggressive phone an email scam seeking to exploit the eagerness of taxpayers to receive their checks.

According to Goddard the phone version has a caller claiming to be an employee of the IRS. The consumer is told, in order to process the rebate the consumer will need to provide personal banking information, and if that information is not forthcoming they will not receive the money.

Simply stated the Internal Revenue Service does not make this kind of phone call. No matter what a caller says and how they identify themselves…never, never should anyone provide personal information over the phone especially to someone they know little or nothing about.

The email version also claims to come from the IRS. The recipient of the email is encouraged to access a Web link. Then, they are asked to download and complete a form asking for personal financial information. In this instance, the recipient is led to believe that failure to provide the information will reflect a poor standing with the IRS; potentially prevent them from receiving their rebate or tax refund; and conceivably cause and/or trigger an IRS audit. Goddard’s message also cautions that attachments may contain certain spyware that enables the thief to steal the victim’s personal and financial information.

Now it’s up to us, as responsible Realtors®, to pick up the ball and run with it. We can provide a valuable service to past, present and future clients by urging individuals in our client base to follow these guidelines, set forth by the Attorney General, to guard against identity thieves.

  • The only IRS Web site is, and all genuine IRS Web pages begin with If you want to access the IRS via Internet, you should type this address into your browser. Do NOT follow links provided in an email.

  • The IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue do not send unsolicited tax-related emails to taxpayers and will never ask for personal information (such as Social Security, bank account or PIN numbers) via email. If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS or Department of Revenue that asks for personal or tax-related information, you should be highly skeptical. Suspicious tax-related emails can be forwarded to

  • Be careful with all documents that contain personal financial or tax-related information. Scam artists are aware that mailboxes, home offices and even trash bins often contain sensitive documents during tax season. Make sure to collect your mail regularly, store all tax related documents in a safe place and shred all documents that contain personal financial information before throwing them away.

Don’t let your clients lose out this tax season and don’t let them fall victim to a scam artist!