Proos: Take steps to avoid IRS scams this tax season

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LANSING—Sen. John Proos is encouraging Southwest Michigan residents to be mindful of IRS phone and email scams, even if you have already filled out your taxes.

“The growth of the Internet and email has increased convenience for consumers. Unfortunately, along with that growth has come an expanding outreach by scam artists looking to take your money or steal your identity,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “These email and phone scams often target our most vulnerable populations, like our seniors. I urge all Southwest Michigan families to look out for these frauds, check on a loved one and immediately report any suspected scams.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette recently issued a consumer alert warning residents that thieves are increasingly going after consumers during tax season.

The attorney general’s consumer alert, “IRS Scams & Tax-Related I.D. Theft,” includes tips on how to avoid being taken advantage of this season, a list of common scams and details on how to report a scam or tax-related identity theft. It can be viewed at www.michigan.gov/ag under the Consumer Protection tab.

“The IRS will never contact you through email or with a phone call. Anyone contacting you claiming to be from the IRS and asking for personal information is a fraud,” Proos said. “Identity theft wreaks havoc on millions of lives every year. To help protect consumers, I was proud to see my legislation enacted in 2013 to allow Michigan residents to place a security freeze on their credit information and also protect their children.”

If an email purports to be from the IRS, consumers should forward it to phishing@irs.gov, the address established by the IRS to receive, track and shut down these scams. Victims of tax-related identity theft should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 and report the fraud.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a scam or identity theft and has experienced any trouble contacting the IRS or the attorney general’s office may contact Proos’ office by phone at (517) 373-6960 or by email at: senjproos@senate.michigan.gov.

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Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos will be available later on the senator’s webpage at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.