Phone Scams Continue to be a Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2016 Filing Season
WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, headlining the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.
The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
"Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don't be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you're not hearing from us.”
"There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment,” Koskinen added. “Some schemes may say you're entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you."
The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so.
This January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced they have received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.
"The IRS continues working to warn taxpayers about phone scams and other schemes," Koskinen said. "We especially want to thank the law-enforcement community, tax professionals, consumer advocates, the states, other government agencies and particularly the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for helping us in this battle against these persistent phone scams."
Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.
Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.
Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
REFER A FRIEND FOR MEMBERHSIP
Calling all members, the California Sheriffs need you! In an effort to promote our highly-regarded membership program, we are offering our Refer-A-Friend promotion. Every existing member who refers a new individual or business to join our organization receives a FREE LAPEL PIN, for themselves and the new member!
As an esteemed existing member, you may be aware that this membership was designed for individuals and businesses that want to take a proactive approach to supporting public safety. Every membership donation helps organize vital training for our sheriffs along with their staff. Our training events deliver crucial knowledge involving modern law enforcement practices, the latest developments in technology, financial practices, administrative processes, basic civil procedures, and much more.
Don’t forget to tell your friends that these donations are tax-deductible! California State Sheriffs’ Association Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All money contributed, goes directly to our programs and operations and stays in local California communities.
Our sheriffs work hard to protect our communities, but they cannot do it alone! The more members we have, the stronger our voice will be and the broader our services can extend. Don’t wait, this offer is only good while supplies last! Refer your friend today!
Click here to download application.
CALIFORNIA STATE SHERIFFS’ ASSOCIATION
ON EFFORTS TO LEGALIZE RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA
The California State Sheriffs’ Association (CSSA) is concerned with the safety and welfare of all Californians and seeks to preserve the rights of all individuals to live and work in communities where drug abuse is not accepted nor subjected to its adverse effects. We believe the effort to legalize marijuana is contrary to the interests of the public health, safety, and welfare, and therefore are opposed to any attempt to decriminalize the use of this drug for recreational use.
Despite “legalization” efforts in other states, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act and is defined as having a high potential for abuse. The dangers of marijuana, and the threat to public safety caused by its use in terms of highway safety, criminal activity, and domestic violence, are well-documented.
Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that marijuana reduces motor coordination and slows reaction time, a dangerous combination when operating a motor vehicle. In addition, nearly 4.2 million people over the age of 12 had a marijuana abuse or addiction problem in 2011.
Legalization of marijuana will likely increase drug use and health care costs due to abuse and overdoses of the drug. The black market for marijuana will likely remain strong as many drug cartels will not work within a regulatory system that will reveal the extent of their other illegal activities or subject their industry to tax levies and licensure.
One need only to look to Colorado, which recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, to see the tremendous societal impacts of this misguided effort. Since legalization, Colorado has experienced major increases in fatalities arising from driving under the influence of marijuana. The number of children being exposed to marijuana has grown significantly, as has the injury and damage caused by extraction of concentrated cannabis. Marijuana is being illegally diverted to other states and tax revenues are failing to meet expectations as users are flocking to medical marijuana dispensaries and the thriving black market.
California Sheriffs strongly reject the notion that marijuana is harmless. The marijuana being cultivated today is exponentially more concentrated than that of years ago. The potential for abuse and overdose is extremely great. Law enforcement is on the front lines of the damage, lost lives and broken communities that result from the careless use of this drug. Our message is clear: marijuana is a dangerous drug and California should not legitimize its use.
CSSA Participates in May 7, 2015 Press Conference in Support of “Stepping Up,” a National Initiative to Reduce the Number of Mentally Ill in Jails
Sacramento May 7, 2015 – Today, CSSA participated in a press conference hosted by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) in support of a national initiative entitled, “Stepping Up” that is being launched this week. The goal of the initiative is to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails. Stepping Up is co-sponsored by the Council on State Governments Justice Center, National Association of Counties, and American Psychiatric Association.
Speakers included Matt Cate, Executive Director – California State Association of Counties; Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens – CSSA Board Member and Major County Sheriffs’ Association 1st Vice President: Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins, San Diego County; Senator Robert Hertzberg, D-18th District; Darrell Steinberg, former California State Senate President Pro Tem; Dr. Renee Binder, President-Elect – American Psychiatric Association; Council Member Riki Hokama, Maui County – National Association of Counties President.
Stepping Up Initiative
The number of people with mental illnesses in U.S. jails has reached a crisis level. Those who deal with this problem every day agree that the current approach does little to improve public safety, stresses already strained budgets, and hurts people with mental illness and their loved ones.
Stepping Up seeks to bring local and state stakeholders together around a common goal: to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jails. A collaboration between the National Association of Counties, the Council of State Governments Justice Center and the American Psychiatric Foundation, Stepping Up calls for key actions, including collecting data to determine the extent of the problem within each jail, developing a plan that draws on proven research to combat the problem, and designing an approach to track progress going forward. And everyone – from a local policymaker to a family member of a person with mental illness – can play a critical role in the initiative in bringing this issue to national attention.
Click here for more detailed information on the Stepping Up Initiative and how you can participate. You can also visit https://stepuptogether.org/
IMPORTANT WARNING - PHONE SCAMS
The California State Sheriffs’ Association Foundation (CSSAF) has been recently advised that citizens have received suspicious phone calls that appear to be coming from either our main number 916.375.8000 or our fax number 916.375.8017. This scam involves callers posing as law enforcement and threatening legal action if you do not pay them. If you receive any suspicious calls, DO NOT give out any personal information, such as social security number, bank account numbers, etc., and report these calls to your local law enforcement agency immediately.
“Please be advised that the California State Sheriffs’ Association Foundation does not solicit by phone,” said CSSA President, Sheriff Adam Christianson.
Information on California Peace Officer Memorial
The California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation is a non-profit charitable foundation whose mission is to recognize and honor Californias peace officers who gave their lives In The Line of Duty serving the citizens of this great state, and provide support to the family members left behind. Below is the May Ceremonial Schedule, list of all officers to be honored as well as CA State income tax donation information.
Mark your calendar for the
2016 California Peace Officers’ Memorial Ceremony
Candlelight Vigil - Sunday, May 1 at dusk (approximately 8:30pm)
Enrollment Ceremony - Monday, May 2, 10:30am - 12:30pm
2016 Honored Officers
LONG-TERM OFFENDERS IN COUNTY JAILS
CSSA SURVEY (as of 4/25/14)
AB 109 REALIGNMENT INFORMATION
AB 109 (Chapter 15, Statutes of 2011) became effective on October 1, 2011. Beginning on October 1 all qualifying low level offenders convicted of non-serious, non-violent, non-sex offenses will begin serving their sentence at the local level rather than in state prison.
Below we have gathered information that has been distributed to our membership regarding realignment. Additionally, we have provided links to other helpful websites related to realignment.
Video - Criminal Justice Realignment - What Counties Need To Know To Implement
Note: Viewers may need to download an add-on to PowerPoint to view. Instructions are on the video page.
Criminal Justice Realignment Implementing Legislation
- California Counties Practice Smart Justice by CSAC
- Voices from the Field: How California Stakeholders View Public Safety Realignment by Joan Petersilia. Stanford Criminal Justice Center, November 2013. This report summarizes the results of interviews conducted with California stakeholders responsible for implementing AB 109.
- Follow the Money: How California Counties Are Spending Their Public Safety Realignment Funds by Jeffrey Lin and Joan Petersilia. Stanford Criminal Justice Center, November 2013. This report examines how counties are spending their money, and the relationship between their discretionary spending choices and county-level differences in crime, political context, community attitudes, economic vitality, and other important demographic and social factors.
- Napa County Jail to Provide Video Visitation for Inmates, Families
By mid-March, friends and family of inmates at the Napa County Jail will visit using video and the Internet, thanks to a video visitation system. Similar to popular Internet applications such as FaceTime and Skype, the video visitation program provides the opportunity for family and friends to connect with inmates regardless of distance and with more flexibility in scheduling.
- Joint Venture Program URL
- CALREALIGNMENT.ORG -The CALrealignment.org website was developed as part of a state-wide conference on criminal justice realignment that was held on September 21 in Sacramento. The website will continue to present information on best practices, assist counties to access technical assistance providers, and make available county realignment plans as they are approved.