“It may be opportune for scammers to strike right when it is tax season because it is on people’s minds,” said Ann Burkholder, commissioner of the revenue for the city of
Burkholder is trying to get the word out about a state tax mail scam that has recently surfaced. The scammers are claiming to be with a collection agency on behalf of the Virginia Department of Taxation, listing amounts in back taxes that are supposedly owed.
She said this scam may seem more legitimate to people because the perpetrators are not asking for rounded dollar amounts, instead they’re asking for seemingly appropriate figures. Burkholder said anyone can be a victim.
“We are seeing an increasing number. There are not only the ones by mail, but also a number of telephone calls that people have received in our area, and those are fairly aggressive so it can be intimidating,” Burkholder said.
The IRS and the Virginia Department of Taxation already have access to citizen’s personal information, this means information should never be communicated over the phone.
“Typically the first thing they’re going to ask for is your social security number. They’re also going to ask for money, and at that point, they’re not only going to get the money directly, but they have your identity and other information and they can continue to get more money.”
Burkholder said most people should be aware if they owe back taxes, so citizens should be careful when receiving these notifications.
“They would have made numerous direct attempts and that person would be aware that those taxes are out there,” said Burkholder.
If you think you may be a victim, contact the Virginia Department of Taxation at (804) 367-8031. You can also reach the Winchester office of the commissioner of the revenue by calling (540) 667-1815.