A scam being practiced in the Atlanta region, and possibly other areas of Georgia, involves a fraudulent promise that Social Security taxes can be refunded.
The scam usually works by the victim paying the scam operator a fee for preparation of the false refund claim and possibly a percentage of any refund received.
This hoax fleeces the victims for the up-front preparation fee, according to the IRS. Plus, the law does not allow such a refund of Social Security taxes paid, so participants could be subject to a penalty for filing a false tax return.
"The IRS is very concerned that some people in the metro Atlanta area have fallen fro this scam," IRS spokesperson Mark Green said. "Getting a refund of Social Security taxes is generally not an option and, in this case, it's not legal."
Green said the IRS became aware of the problem when alert workers in the Atlanta IRS office noticed that several people were coming in and asking for copies of their Social Security income statements. When questioned, some of the people explained that a person was preparing refund claims for them.
The IRS and Social Security Administration immediately focused their efforts on locating the person or persons preparing the false claims.
Green said that anyone who received a refund from one of these false claims before the scam was detected should contact the IRS. The law requires that those funds be returned. Green said if such a check already has been cashed, "the IRS will usually work with them to arrange ... return of the funds."
Anyone with information about this or other suspected tax fraud or a tax scam is asked to contact the IRS Tax Fraud Hotline at 1-800-829-0433.
Read more about tax scams and how to recognize them at the IRS webpage: