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.
more information in English, click here.
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
Any information or complaints can be given to the Las Vegas IRS-CI
Fraud Line at (702) 868-5089.
IRS ABUSIVE TAX
RETURN PREPARERS ALERT
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:
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
false and inflated itemized deductions on Schedule A, Itemized
charitable contributions medical and dental expenses
Claiming false Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss,
Claiming false dependents
IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) reminds you;
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.
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:
return preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds
than other preparers.
preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the amount
of the refund.
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.
sign a blank tax form.
questions. Do you know anyone who has used the tax
professional? Were they satisfied with the service they
Evasion is a crime, a felony, punishable up to 5 years
imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
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.
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.
refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example
submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.
access the form for your tax refund, please click here
Internal Revenue Service"
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
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
General Warns Consumers to Get the Facts Before Considering "A
To report fraud or abuse in the Reverse Mortgage program, contact
the Division of Mortgage Lending at
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
Get it in writing. Don’t release your belongings without
an in-person, written estimate. Verbal estimates are not
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
TIME-SHARE OWNER ALERT
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.
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
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.
First of all, if you agree to this scheme you may be
committing LOAN FRAUD. This is very serious.
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
subject you to civil and even criminal problems.
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.
not sign anything that you do not understand or that is
through a reputable escrow company to make sure that your
mortgage(s) is paid off to the satisfaction of the lender(s).
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.
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.
She (or He) fell in love with you on
the internet and wants to marry you soon.
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 in over seas right now in Africa or Nigeria and as soon as
you can help them get home with financial support, true bliss
What are the signs?
The person you met says they live in your area but just
happens to be in another country.
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.
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
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.
You’re renting an apartment or home and placed an ad on a web site
such as Craig’s List or E bay.
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.
The person sends you a bank check or money order for 2-3
times the amount you are asking for in a deposit.
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.
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.
You won the Royal Canadian Lotto.
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.
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.”
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.”
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
You sell something on an auction or
other web site.
The person who purchases your item is out of town or lives
out of the country
The person just has to have the item “now.”
The person is anxious to pay you but doesn’t have pay pal or
another known payment service.
The person offers to send you a guaranteed “bank check” or
money order and asks that upon receipt you immediately send them the
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 –