Tax season is scam season

Staff Report

NEWBERRY COUNTY — It is that time of the year again — tax season — and with many people getting a tax refund, scammers are out in force trying to rob that little bit of extra money you may receive.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office has received reports of scammers posing as revenue agents and using a variety of scripts.

One is to tell people they have a large refund waiting or a mistake was made on their original refund, but before they can receive that amount they would have to send in a tax on that money.

Another is to threaten the individual with a fine for not properly doing their taxes and they can get off the hook by sending in a fine.

Another scam is to engage the individual in a conversation about their tax filings and during the conversation the scammer obtains information about the taxes.

They then begin to speak to the caller about other scams and the dangers in direct deposits. Then they offer to securely send the return to their account, but they first must get the account numbers.

Enough information gleaned would allow the scammers access to your banking account.

In addition to this scam, there are people posing as Publishers Clearing House agents offering a huge prize. But before they get the cash, a car or a boat, the individual would have to pay a tax or a winners fee. The victim is told that once the tax or winners fee is paid, a van with the balloons will be at their house within an hour.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office wants residents to think before they act. Call your local law enforcement office or your tax preparer before you engage in any activity regarding tax refunds. While the Publishers Clearing House is a real organization, they do not charge a fee for services and it is done as a surprise.

Sheriff Lee Foster encouraged residents to remember that a key to determining if an offer is a scam is if they are told they have to pay a fee. The scammers will usually tell their victims to either go to a store and get a specific type of money order or get Visa gift cards or ITunes cards.

Government agencies do not accept gift cards in lieu of payment.

Staff Report

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