HARDLY a week goes by without Fair Play having to warn people of a variety of scams aimed at conning us out of either our money, our personal identity details – or both.
Now Islanders are once again being targeted by criminal mail scammers – this time in a letter purporting to be from the tax office in America.
Residents in Jersey and Guernsey as well as the Isle of Man have been receiving the scam letter, which is headed Internal Revenue Service, United States Department of the Treasury. It states that it is a final tax amnesty notification and that foreign investors with properties in the United States will be being given until October to declare unpaid tax.
The letter states that this is an ‘unprecedented amnesty for hundreds of thousands of people with offshore assets, including holiday homes’. It goes on to warn that once the amnesty expires ‘Inland Revenue & Customs officials are planning a crack down on offshore assets using aggressive new laws including sharing of information with tax authorities / Financial Authorities abroad.’
After the bullying warning, there’s the promise that if you fill in the form you will not pay tax or face prosecution.
On the back of the badly photocopied letter, is the ‘form’ to fill in, which asks for a comprehensive list of personal details such as name, place and date of birth, bank name and branch, account statements, PIN number and credit card details, to be faxed to +1 – 212 – 658 – 9680. All the sort of information you should never, ever part with.
Strangely enough, with a few minor alterations, it is exactly the same ‘form’ that appears on the Irish Lottery scam which is also doing the rounds at the moment.
This latest scam is being taken very seriously and several local bodies have been in touch with Fair Play warning of the scam, including the Jersey Consumer Council, Data Protection and the police.
DC Bruce Liron of the Crime Reduction Unit said: ‘A number of Island residents have received letters allegedly from the Internal Revenue Service, United States Department of the Treasury. Quite clearly this is a scam and a possible attempt at identity fraud.
‘Some of the common factors with these types of scams will be the unprofessional manner in which the letter is written. Spelling and grammatical errors are generally evident and should always arouse suspicion.
‘On no account should anyone receiving such a letter send off any details whatsoever and letters should be destroyed.’