NCDOR Warns of Scams Targeting Taxpayers

NCDOR Warns of Scams Targeting Taxpayers

By / State News / Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:12

Agency Offers Guidance to Help Combat Identity Theft and Fraud

RALEIGH, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) today issued a warning to taxpayers to be aware of criminals fraudulently posing as tax agents to collect fake payments. Over the past few years, the NCDOR has received increasing reports of taxpayers being contacted via phone by criminals attempting to intimidate and collect payment for nonexistent tax debts. These tactics are continuously evolving and many involve impersonation of state and federal tax employees or could involve mimicking (or “spoofing”) legitimate phone numbers before redirecting calls.
“The North Carolina Department of Revenue is committed to safeguarding information,” said Secretary Ronald G. Penny. “This tax season, we are working harder than ever to prevent identity theft and stop refund fraud. We also want North Carolinians to know what the NCDOR will and will not do so that taxpayers can protect themselves from fraud.”
The NCDOR has regular processes and procedures outlined by statute which govern how agency personnel may pursue past due taxes.
Criminal Tactics That NCDOR Representatives Will Not Use
• The NCDOR will not contact a taxpayer in person unless the agency has first attempted to provide the taxpayer with notification(s) via mail.
• The NCDOR will not require a taxpayer to use any specific payment method unless the taxpayer is in the collection process for past-due liabilities. The NCDOR offers numerous payment options; taxpayers may choose the method that is most convenient for them.
• The NCDOR will not initiate communications to demand immediate payment from taxpayers via text message, social media, or email.
• The NCDOR will not demand a taxpayer pay taxes without first giving the taxpayer an opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
NCDOR Representatives Will Verify Taxpayer Identification
• The NCDOR will require additional customer verification from taxpayers who call the agency as part of the agency’s enhanced identity theft security measures. This verification may involve Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Due to the NCDOR’s enhanced identity theft protection measures, some refunds may take longer than normal, which is 8 weeks for electronically-filed returns and 12 weeks for paper returns.
Communications with taxpayers can vary based on the type of transaction. Here is what taxpayers can expect when NCDOR does initiate contact:
• When a tax liability is in collections: Collection personnel may call or visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced to collect past due taxes. In the event an in-person visit occurs, NCDOR personnel have been trained to present credentials to validate employment with the agency. NCDOR employees will not visit a taxpayer until a notification has been sent to the taxpayer through the mail. Forced collection activities can be taken when a taxpayer becomes noncompliant with the North Carolina tax laws. Learn more about the collection process. 
• When a taxpayer is being audited: Auditors may call taxpayers to set up appointments to discuss an ongoing audit. Auditors may visit taxpayers, but only after scheduling an appointment. In-person visits are preceded by an audit confirmation letter.
• When a taxpayer is being charged criminally: Investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. These are Revenue Law Enforcement agents who are responsible for addressing serious, criminal tax violations, and prosecution of tax fraud. Please note: processes and procedures may differ for a taxpayer who is under criminal investigation by the NCDOR.
Other scams as outlined by the IRS:
Phishing: Taxpayers should be alert to potential fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a bill or tax refund. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS. Be wary of emails and websites that may be nothing more than scams to steal personal information. (IR-2018-39)
Phone Scams: Phone calls from criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent years as con artists threaten taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things. (IR-2018-40)
Identity Theft: Taxpayers should be alert to tactics aimed at stealing their identities, not just during the tax filing season, but all year long. The IRS, working in the Security Summit partnership with the states and the tax industry, has made major improvements in detecting tax return related identity theft during the last two years. But the agency reminds taxpayers that they can help in preventing this crime. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue criminals that file fraudulent tax returns using someone else’s Social Security number. (IR-2018-42)
Return Preparer Fraud: Be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers.
The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service. There are some dishonest preparers who operate each filing season to scam clients, perpetuating refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. (IR-2018-45)
Fake Charities: Groups masquerading as charitable organizations solicit donations from unsuspecting contributors.
Be wary of charities with names similar to familiar or nationally-known organizations. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations. (IR-2018-47)

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