A new study found New Hampshire to be the 19th most targeted state in America for robocall phone scams during tax season. AllAreaCodes.com released the States Most at Risk for Tax Season Scams after analyzing 15 million consumer complaints released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the last three years (2016-18). New Hampshire ranked 19th with 1,829 FTC complaints per 100,000 people.
The analysis revealed phone scams increase by 20 percent in March and April as compared to January so consumers should be on alert.
The IRS has stated repeatedly that they will never call to demand immediate payment, will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, and will not threaten with the police or lawsuits. If you suspect the call is a scam, the IRS urges consumers to call 800-829-1040 immediately.
Meanwhile, NH Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald urges residents to take added precautions from IRS-related scams. In 2017, the AG's office received 471 reports related to IRS scams. In 2018, there were 984 such reports.
According to the AG:
Callers typically ask for some sort of immediate payment and threaten arrest, wage garnishment or other forms of legal process to coerce the payment; but the IRS does not use email to request personal or financial information and it never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone.
A second prevalent scam is when the perpetrator uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Often, the victim is unaware that the theft has happened until the person files his or her return and only then discovers that a fraudulent return had already been filed and the refund sent to the thief.
The Attorney General recommends taking these steps to better protect yourself against scams:
- Hang up the phone immediately if you receive any threatening or demanding calls
- Refrain from calling the number provided in a voice message or otherwise as it is likely a sophisticated call center designed to deceive the caller into believing it is a governmental office
- Do not engage with the caller
- Trust your instincts and treat each unsolicited call with increased skepticism, specifically calls, emails or other online solicitations asking for personal identification or financial information
- Individuals should never provide personal information to anyone without first verifying the source of the inquiry
New Hampshire consumers may file a complaint at: http://doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm or by calling the Attorney General's consumer information line at 888-468-4454.