IRS warning taxpayers of suspicious email on disability compensation
June 12, 2012 at 5:17 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 7:18 AM
PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers to beware of suspicious emails regarding disability compensation for military members, retirees and civilian employees.
Arkansas IRS spokesman David Stell said the email claims that people who receive disability compensation may be eligible to receive more funds from the IRS.
Once email recipients respond and send documents that contain personal information to an address in Florida, identity theft occurs.
"The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mail to taxpayers and never asks for personal and financial information such as PIN numbers, passwords or similar secret information for financial accounts," Stell said.
Disabled Vietnam veteran Charles Thompson said he understands how people would want to believe they have the opportunity to gain more income.
"It's always an incentive when somebody sends you some kind of information saying you can get more money, especially in today's economy."
John Kennett, the Veterans Service Officer for Greene County, said his office received a notice from the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs. "What they're trying to get is personal financial information, and identity theft is pretty much what it is."
"They said that there's emails going around to veterans who are in receipt of pension and disability compensation from a retired military officer in Florida."
Greene County received $14,837 in 2011 for the 3,422 veterans the service office has on record.
Kennett said the VA will not ask for personal information online or on the phone. "I'm not aware of VA ever soliciting information from veterans by email."
Thompson said he would ask the email sender to verify their identity before he sent information. "I would send them a return letter saying, ‘Please send me a registered letter requesting this information.'"
Thompson said he has specific contacts with the VA, and rarely puts any info online.
"The only place online that has any kind of information about me right now is probably the Veterans Administration, their secure site, and the university I'm attending."
The notice also warns taxpayers to look out for anyone asking for copies of a VA awards letter because that information could also be used to apply for credit cards, financial loans or benefits
"I've heard a lot of people in different areas are getting certain spam or email scams," Thompson said.
"Identity theft is a profitable business I guess if they're doing it right."