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 Spearheaded by the Department of Business & Industry
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Nevada Fight Fraud

 

 

Fraud Alerts

Every Day, citizens of Nevada and others throughout the country face the potential for various frauds and scams. Below are some of the top scams facing the citizens of our State.

 

FOOD STAMP FRAUD ALERT

Small Business Owners Beware! Food stamp benefit dollars are being stolen from store accounts. Someone may call your store pretending to be an EBT vendor or a Food Stamp official. He or she will say s/he must test your EBT machine immediately or it will stop working. The caller will instruct you to enter a series of numbers followed by a dollar amount. These are valid EBT card and PIN numbers. The transactions you are completing are key-entered refunds. Money is moved from your store’s account to the EBT cardholder account. This is NOT a test. Money has been and is being stolen from stores like yours. The refunded food stamp benefits are then quickly spent or trafficked in other locations. IRS_Rebate

For more information in English, click here For more information in Spanish, click here.

IRS REBATE CHECK SCAM ALERT

Consumer IRS Alert -- The IRS warns taxpayers to be on the alert for e-mails and phone calls they may receive which claim to come from the IRS or other federal agency and which mention their tax refund or economic stimulus payment. These are almost certainly a scam whose purpose is to obtain personal and financial information — such as name, Social Security number, bank account and credit card or even PIN numbers — from taxpayers which can be used by the scammers to commit identity theft. The e-mails and calls usually state that the IRS needs the information to process a refund or stimulus payment or deposit it into the taxpayer's bank account. The e-mails often contain links or attachments to what appears to be the IRS Web site or an IRS "refund application form." However genuine in appearance, these phonies are designed to elicit the information the scammers are looking for. The IRS does not send taxpayers e-mails about their tax accounts. Additionally, the way to get a tax refund or stimulus payment, or to arrange for a direct deposit, is to file a tax return. 

The IRS has cautioned taxpayers to be on the lookout for a scam using the rebate checks from the economic stimulus package as bait. The goal of the scams is to trick people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which the scammers can use to commit identity theft.

Typically, identity thieves use a victim’s personal and financial data to empty the victim’s financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name, file fraudulent tax returns or even commit crimes. Most of these fraudulent activities can be committed electronically from a remote location, including overseas. Committing these activities in cyberspace allows scamsters to act quickly and cover their tracks before the victim becomes aware of the theft.

For more information and to learn how to protect yourself, go to
http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=178061,00.html. Any information or complaints can be given to the Las Vegas IRS-CI Fraud Line at (702) 868-5089. Abusive

IRS ABUSIVE TAX RETURN PREPARERS ALERT

Taxpayers should be very careful when choosing a return preparer. You should be as careful as you would in choosing a doctor or a lawyer. While most preparers provide excellent service to their clients, a few unscrupulous return preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns and ultimately defraud their clients. It is important to know that even if someone else prepares your return, you are ultimately responsible for all the information on the tax return.


Dishonest return preparers use a variety of methods to formulate fraudulent and illegal deductions for reducing taxable income. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Preparing fraudulent Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, claiming deductions for expenses that have not been paid by the taxpayer to offset Form 1099, Miscellaneous Income, or income earned from outside employment,

  • Including false and inflated itemized deductions on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, for:

    • charitable contributions medical and dental expenses

    • Claiming false Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss, losses

    • Claiming false dependents

Helpful Hints

IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) reminds you:

  • Taxpayers are responsible for the accuracy of all entries made on their tax returns, which include related schedules, forms and supporting documentation. This remains true whether the return is prepared by the taxpayer or by a return preparer.

  • Be careful in selecting the tax professional who will prepare your return. Some basic tips and guidelines to assist taxpayers in choosing a reputable tax professional are:

    • Avoid return preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.

    • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount of the refund.

    • Use a reputable tax professional that signs your tax return and provides you with a copy for your records.

    • Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of your tax return, months, even years, after the return has been filed.

    • Never sign a blank tax form.

    • Ask questions. Do you know anyone who has used the tax professional? Were they satisfied with the service they received?

  • Tax Evasion is a crime, a felony, punishable up to 5 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

When in doubt, check it out! Taxpayers hearing claims from preparers offering larger refunds than other preparers are encouraged to check it out with a trusted tax professional or the IRS before getting involved. For more information or to file a complaint, call the IRS-CI Fraud line at (702) 868-5089. SPAM_EMAIL

IRS SPAM E-MAIL MESSAGE SCAM ALERT

The IRS never offers refunds through e-mail or sends out unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer, they send notice via U.S. Mail, and every such notice includes a telephone number that the recipient can call for confirmation. Should you need to visit the IRS website for any reason, go there directly (by entering the www.irs.gov URL into your web browser) rather than following links in e-mail messages.

Sample Fraudulent IRS SPAM E-mail Message:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $63.80. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here

Regards,
Internal Revenue Service"

Source: http://www.snopes.com/fraud/phishing/irs2006.asp  ReverseMortgage

REVERSE MORTGAGE ALERT

Reverse Mortgages are becoming popular in America. Reverse Mortgages are a special type of home loan that lets a homeowner convert the equity in his/her home into cash. They can give a lot of older Americans greater financial security to supplement social security, meet unexpected medical expenses, make home improvements and more.

If you are interested in a reverse mortgage, beware of scam artists that charge thousands of dollars for information that is free from HUD!

Also, be cautious if anyone tries to sell you something like an annuity, and suggests that a Reverse Mortgage would be an easy way to pay for it. If you don’t fully understand what they’re selling or you’re not sure you need what they’re selling, be even more skeptical.

No matter why you decide to take a Reverse Mortgage, you generally have at least three business days after signing the loan document to cancel it for any reason without penalty. Remember that you must cancel in writing. The lender must return any money you have paid so far for the financing.

For more information, please review The Attorney General Warns Consumers to Get the Facts Before Considering" A Reverse Mortgage" (pdf).

To report fraud or abuse in the Reverse Mortgage program, contact the Division of Mortgage Lending at http://www.mld.nv.gov/.

Source: http://www.hud.gov/buying/rvrsmort.cfm and http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/homes/rea13.shtm moving

AVOIDING MOVING SCAMS

Just because a mover’s ad says they are licensed and insured does not mean that they are licensed and regulated through the Nevada Transportation Authority (NTA).

Ask your mover if they have a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” says NTA Chairman Andy MacKay. “The CPCN shows that the moving company has been granted the authority to operate as an intrastate mover by the State of Nevada.

  • Verify. Check the company’s registration and background. Verify that they have the proper certification, specifically a CPCN.

  • Get it in writing. Don’t release your belongings without an in-person, written estimate. Verbal estimates are not binding.

  • Go beyond price. Don’t hire a mover just because they are the cheapest bid. A low bid is not an indicator of reliability.

  • Insist on an in-person visit. If a mover refuses to visit you in person to take a look at your belongings, they can’t accurately assess your needs.

  • Watch for ‘red flags’. Unmarked trucks or common rental trucks, documents with no logo or an unprofessional-looking logo, unprofessional attire, and companies with a different name than the company you originally contacted are all indicators that the mover may be unscrupulous.

For further information on hiring a mover, visit http://movingscam.com/. If you have been the victim of an illegal household goods mover, contact the Nevada Transportation Authority at http://tsa.nv.gov/Movers.htm. timeshare

TIME-SHARE OWNER ALERT

As a time-share owner you may be contacted by a person or company either wanting to buy your time share or claiming to have a ready buyer. The catch is that these people or companies want you to pay money up front for this service.

Please be advised that in the normal real estate transaction, the seller does not pay any money for commissions, title search or anything else until the actual close of escrow and then through a reputable escrow company only. If you are approached with one of these proposals, please make sure that you do not send money or give out a credit card number in advance of the closing with a reputable escrow company. If the proposal is real, the contact should be more then happy to wait for the close of escrow to get his money. credit

CREDIT ALERT

People with good credit are being approached and asked if someone can “use” their good credit to purchase a property. The person with the good credit is offered from $5,000 to $10,000 for this service. The person with good credit is promised that the mortgage and taxes will be paid and that after a period of time, typically one to two years, that the other person will re-finance or sell the property and share profits.

  1. First of all, if you agree to this scheme you may be committing LOAN FRAUD. This is very serious.

  2. Secondly, the loan is in your name. The person approaching you will generally have you sign many papers, one of which gives that person the ability to rent or even sell the property. What has happened is that the person collects rents, option money and any other income while not paying the mortgage or up-keep of any type on the property. Eventually the property mortgage, under your name, goes into default and foreclosure. This will ruin your credit and possibly subject you to civil and even criminal problems. foreclosure

FORECLOSURE ALERT

If your property mortgage is delinquent and you are facing foreclosure, you may be contacted by a person or company willing to take the property off your hands to save your credit. While some of these companies are actually good and do help, others are not.

  1. Do not sign anything that you do not understand or that is blank.

  2. Go through a reputable escrow company to make sure that your mortgage(s) is paid off to the satisfaction of the lender(s).

  3. If you do not do this, you may find that the person or company has title to or owns your property, yet the mortgage is still in your name.

  4. The person or company pays nothing to the mortgage(s) holder. The foreclosure happens. Your credit is ruined while the company “saving” your credit has made money from your property by renting it until the foreclosure. MarryYouSoon

SHE (OR HE) FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU ON THE INTERNET AND WANTS TO MARRY YOU SOON

It happens every day; you met someone online via a dating service, or perhaps in a chat room. Then, within just a short period of time, that person takes a liking to you and would love to be with you for the rest of their lives. One small problem! They just so happen to be living over seas right now in Africa or Nigeria and as soon as you can help them get home with financial support, true bliss awaits.

What are the signs?

  1. The person you met says they live in your area but just happens to be in another country.

  2. The person has an immediate financial hardship such as a medical condition or the inability to pay their hotel, or other financial crises and they need your immediate financial assistance.

  3. The person either asks you to wire them money, or will offer to send you a cashiers check or money order from their “employer” at which time they will ask you to cash the item at a check cashing store or deposit it into your bank and immediately wire them the funds back.

Don’t fall victim! Generally, if you have never met a person, then you shouldn’t be providing financial support to them. If a person on a dating service indicates they live in your area but just so happens to be out of the country and needing cash now, don’t send cash or cash the check, as it most cases it will be a fraud and you will be out the money. CraigsListEbay

YOU’RE RENTING AN APARTMENT OR HOME AND PLACED AN AD ON A WEB SITE SUCH AS CRAIG’S LIST OR E BAY

  1. The person wants to rent your property immediately but just happens to be moving from another state or country and has not yet arrived in town to meet you.

  2. The person sends you a bank check or money order for 2-3 times the amount you are asking for in a deposit.

  3. The person then asks you to hold the rental but send back the overage sent to you via wire transfer and gives you no reasonable explanation why they overpaid you on the deposit.

Don’t fall victim! If the person wants to rent your property, ensure that they are legitimate. Call references; verify with other parties that they are who they say they are. Never accept more then your asking for in a deposit and never send back a refund via wire transfer. CanadianLotto

YOU WON THE ROYAL CANADIAN LOTTO

  1. You receive an e mail asking to confirm certain information to collect your winnings from the Royal Canadian Lotto or other country Lottery. The person first approaches you via e mail and informs you that you have won a large amount of money.

  2. The person gets your address and sends you an official bank check or other type of check for a small portion of your winnings to cover certain costs or “taxes.”

  3. The Person asks you to go to a check cashing store or bank to cash or deposit the item. Once you do so, they instruct you to wire a portion of the money back to them at which time they will send you the “grand prize check.”

Don’t fall victim! As the old saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play. Random out of country lotteries are scams. No one will ever contact you and offer to send you partial proceeds. Never wire money to pay for taxes or other fees, as in all known cases, the check is counterfeit and you will be responsible for its repayment from the check casher or bank. sell

YOU SELL SOMETHING ON AN AUCTION OR OTHER WEB SITE

  1. The person who purchases your item is out of town or lives out of the country

  2. The person just has to have the item “now.”

  3. The person is anxious to pay you but doesn’t have pay pal or another known payment service.

  4. The person offers to send you a guaranteed “bank check” or money order and asks that upon receipt you immediately send them the merchandise.

Don’t fall victim! Scammers will send you a counterfeit check and ask you to send them your merchandise for sale. Once you deposit or cash the check, it may be returned counterfeit. Never send an item unless you’re sure the method of payment is valid. If you do accept a check or money order, give it at least 10 days to clear prior to shipping the item.

Source: Robert Frimet, RMF Consulting Group, LLC – www.checkconsultants.com

Last Updated: 09/14/11 08:26:27 AM

SCAM Alerts 

Scam Alert (Channel 8/KLAS TV)
Channel 8/KLAS TV

Small Business Grant Scams

Time Share Scams
Classic Car Scams
Child Identity Theft
Poetry Contest Alert
Medical Identity Theft
Gift Cards Scams - Buying Gift
Cards off the Rack
Home-Based Business Scams
Digital TV Transition Scams
ATM Scams
Air Conditioning Scams
Pool Scams
Household Goods Movers Scams
Nigerian Scams
Small Business Grant Scams to Avoid
Common Foreclosure Scams to Avoid
Charity Scams
Seniors and the “Unsafe to Drive” Scam
Door-to–Door Magazine Sales Scams
Internet Scams
Avoid Identity Theft
Return & Refund Policies
Gift Cards & Gift Certificates

Tax Return Preparer

Sweepstakes / Lotteries

Auto Repair

Health Club

Credit Services

Employing a Contractor

Work-at-Home

Travel

Sources: IRS, Webroot Software

 

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