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Rochester/Lapeer Mich. –Sept. 21, 2016 –Vince Mattina, Jr., CPA, managing partner of Mattina, Kent & Gibbons, P.C. (MKG), a Michigan-based CPA firm providing audit, accounting, tax and business consulting services to a variety of industries, says no one is immune to being the potential victim of IRS phone scams, including CPA firm personnel and clients well versed in legitimate tax processes.
“Our staff has been on the receiving end of these phone calls, where the scammer is posing as an IRS agent or Michigan Department of Treasury representative,” Mattina said. “Because they deal with tax issues every day, they can see through the fraudulent calls, but my understanding is the caller is forceful and intimidating so it’s easy to see how the average taxpayer could be vulnerable.”
Mattina, who also knows of MKG clients who have been contacted by phone from fraudulent sources, shares some advice to avoid becoming a victim.
“Taxing authorities would rarely contact an individual by phone without first mailing a letter detailing the tax issue at hand, so any phone call demanding payment of a tax is highly suspect,” Mattina said. “The individual should terminate the call immediately and, if concerned, contact the taxing authority to determine if the call was legitimate, knowing that even the phone number on caller ID may appear to be a legitimate taxing authority.”
Mattina also cautions against ever giving personal information over the phone when the individual did not initiate the call or know a call was forthcoming, for example regarding a pending mortgage application. For further advice, Mattina referred to a press release sent out on Aug. 11, 2016, the Michigan Department of Treasury which offered the following tips:
Please be advised The Department of Treasury will not:
• Demand immediate payment without first mailing you a letter
• Require you to pay your taxes a certain way (for instance require you pay over the phone with a prepaid debit card)
• Threaten to call the police or other law enforcement agencies to arrest you for not paying
• Ask for a PIN, passwords, access codes to your bank accounts, or credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Michigan Department of Treasury, but you suspect he/she is not a Treasury employee…
• If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do, do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
• If you believe you may owe taxes or that the Department of Treasury may need to legitimately contact you, please record the employee’s name, call-back number and caller ID available; then call the Department of Treasury at (517) 636-5265 to determine if the caller is a Treasury employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
About Mattina Kent & Gibbons
MKG is a Michigan-based CPA firm providing audit, accounting, tax and business consulting services to a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, professional services, governmental, agribusiness and non-profits. To learn more, visit http://www.mkgpc.com.