As the inevitable tax season is approaching, there are some who see this as an opportunity for crime. The IRS has compiled a list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams, which includes scams where people impersonate the IRS and insist that someone owes them money. These scammers are frequently persistent and aggressive. They often have a fake caller ID to seem more believable. Patricia Svarnas, a spokesperson for the IRS in NY and NJ, said that since 2013, the IRS has received 740,000 calls about phone scams. With a combined loss of $23 million due to successful scammers, this is a huge nationwide problem that law enforcement is trying to battle.
Law enforcement’s best action against these scammers is to share information with residents. As the frequency of this scam continues to grow, many agencies are using Nixle to warn residents of those who try commit tax scams. Some agencies receive hundreds of calls a week asking about the validity of a call from the supposed IRS.
In Parsippany NJ, the police have teamed up with the IRS to educate residents about this scam and what to look for. Recently, two residents lost a total of $20,000 to scammers pretending to be the IRS. In response to this, the Parsippany police department sent out a Nixle message with tips from the IRS and the difference between scammers and actual IRS callers. Now that residents are aware that scammers have been targeting their community, they can better avoid potential losses.
Agencies across the country have been using Nixle to fight scammers including Newport Beach Police Department in California. The common way to handle these scammers is to make as many people aware as possible so that they can be knowledgeable of how to handle the situation.
Scam warning from Newport Beach PD
Most Nixle alerts also include tips from the IRS on what to look for and the actual protocol of the IRS when collecting taxes. IRS commissioner John Koskinen advised, “If you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us”.
Police departments are partnering with the IRS to define the difference between the scammers and the IRS and are using Nixle to get that valuable information out to the public. With an abundance of calls from residents questioning these calls, Nixle is the easiest and quickest way to send mass notifications to the community to help prevent residents loses thousands of dollars to scammers.
The IRS has provided tips to protect yourself that you can view here.
Your emergency message is only effective if it reaches your residents but building your opt in data base is a challenge that every department faces. Download 9 Ways to Build your Resident Opt-In Database: A Visual Guide to see various examples of how agencies have used marketing and advertisement to increase awareness to their notification system- resulting in increasing their subscriber base.