Police say beware of scams during tax season

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, April 8 2014 at 6:27 PM, Updated: Tue, April 8 2014 at 10:28 PM

Medford, Ore. -- The deadline to file tax returns is coming up fast on April 15th and still half a million Oregonians still need to file.

However, police are warning taxpayers to be aware of scams this season.

According to Medford Police, tax season is a prime time for criminals to prey on people in a rush to get their taxes done by the deadline.

"So far this year, 2014, I've seen at least 15-20 reports where people have gone to file their taxes and have found that somebody beat them to the punch and filed taxes under their social security number," said Sergeant Brent Mak with the Medford Police Department.

According to the Oregon Department of Justice, there have also been reports of people calling unsuspecting tax papers, asking for money and pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

"They've actually spoofed the 800 number to the IRS, so on the caller ID, it will show the IRS," said Sgt. Mak.

Those scammers sometimes threatening arrest, jail time, or pulling a drivers license when people refuse to pay up. The DOJ said  sometimes criminals even call back under the guise of local police or the Department of Motor Vehicles.

It's also possible a scammer could even know the last four digits of your social security number. However, don't let it fool you. Remember to be wary of putting your social security number online. Police say once it's on the internet, it's hard to take off. 

"The bottom line is this, when you're talking to someone on the phone or the internet, you have no idea who they are," Sgt. Mak explained.

So use caution this tax season. Sgt. Mak said the IRS doesn't call people before the April 15th deadline requesting money or making threats.

If you have any tax concerns, don't hesitate to call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.

Taxpayers can also call the Oregon Department of Revenue at (800) 356-4222.

According to the IRS, they will not ask you to pay with a pre-paid debit card, wire transfer or credit card over the phone.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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