Howard County Department of Citizen Services is warning residents to BE ON ALERT for calls from individuals who claim they represent the IRS or other government agencies. This warning follows reports to the Department’s Office of Consumer Affairs from a number of County residents about a new variation on the IRS imposter scam that began several years ago. In this new variation, the caller claims to be with the IRS and needs to verify your refund by confirming your refund amount, along with your bank routing and account information. To taxpayers who are expecting a refund, this may appear to be a routine administrative call.
The Office of Consumer Affairs advises:
- DO NOT give personal information over the telephone to a caller you don’t know. The IRS will never contact you by telephone regarding your tax bill, unless you have called the agency first. The IRS mails important communications to taxpayers and provides details on how to respond or get more information.
- DO NOT respond to any solicitation or demand for money immediately. If you think the caller may be legitimate, ask for details and contact information that you can verify over the internet or by calling the agency’s public phone number.
- A demand or request for payment by wire transfer or pre-paid card is a “RED FLAG” that the call is a scam. Such payments cannot be traced by the victim or law enforcement agencies, and legitimate businesses and government agencies never ask for money to be paid this way.
For more information and/or to report a potential scam, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 410-313-6420 or visit the Office’s “Scam Alert!” website at www.howardcountymd.gov/scamalert.htm .
Residents who have lost money or feel their personal safety is at risk due to a scam, should contact the Howard County Police Department‘s non-emergency phone number at 410-313-2200 to file a report.