ASK THE EDD LAWYER – WHAT ARE THE LATEST FTB WARNINGS OF NEW TAX SCAMS?
By Robert S. Schriebman
The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) has issued a series of warnings involving theft ploys and scams where criminals are passing themselves off as official FTB agents in order to separate you from your money and to gain access to your personal information for purposes of identity theft.
The FTB is warning the public of telephone calls from criminals impersonating both IRS and FTB agents. These crooks are telling innocent people that they owe back taxes and that they will be arrested promptly if those taxes are not paid. Of course, the innocent person at the other end of the phone panics and is willing to give the caller whatever information it takes to avoid being arrested. The caller wants to know how much money is available to pay off the bogus tax deficiency in full or to make a hefty down payment. These scammers ask for social security numbers, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers. Some crooks use email so the innocent victim cannot verify the credibility of the caller.
The FTB is suggesting that the best thing you can do is to obtain a callback number from the scammer and to request that information about the alleged deficiency be sent to them in the mail. If the caller balks at your request, hang up because the person is a phony.
The FTB warns that there is a second scam that seems to be targeting taxpayers in affluent communities such as Beverly Hills. Criminals are contacting people and informing them that they have received a red-light traffic ticket that was referred to the FTB for collection. The scammer instructs the victim to load money onto a prepaid debit card and send it to a bogus address. These crooks are clever because they refer victims to an actual FTB phone number for reference. These scammers also attempt to obtain personal and financial information in order to commit identity theft.
The FTB is advising the public to consider taking the following action:
- While the FTB calls people who owe taxes, the FTB will never ask taxpayers for personal identification numbers, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards, bank accounts, or other financial information.
- Taxpayers who know that they do not owe taxes or who have never received an FTB billing notice can verify their FTB account information by accessing MyFTB Account or by calling the FTB directly at 800.852.5711 to review their accounts.
- FTB criminal investigators never solicit payment from debtors under the threat of incarceration.
- The FTB does not have the ability to process funds from third-party issued debit cards, prepaid credit cards, or wire transfers.
As a closing personal observation to these scams, it has been my experience, from over 40 years in the practice of tax law, that a person is rarely sent to jail for owing taxes.
An EDD lawyer, Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States.
As a trusted EDD attorney, Robert S. Schriebman has successfully dedicated more than 30 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House and the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure”, both published by Commerce Clearing House.