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Video Relay Scam Targeting Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The IRS is warning that con artists are using video relay services (VRS) as a way of potentially scamming deaf and hard of hearing individuals. It appears these bad actors are using VRS just like many of the other phone and email scams that are constantly being reported. These people will call claiming to be from the IRS and demand payment of a tax debt or say that the taxpayer is due a refund. Simply, these scammers are looking for personal information. As always, do not give out personal and financial information to anyone you do not know and confirm that the person requesting information really is who they claim to be. The IRS adds that people should not assume they can trust VRS calls as VRS interpreters do not screen calls for validity.

As listed on IRS.gov, the IRS will never:

If a deaf or hard of hearing individual suspects they received one of these calls, they should call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484. The IRS now accepts calls from all type of relay services whether they are federal, state or private relay providers. The IRS also has YouTube videos in American Sign Language (ASL) with a listing that can be found here. A YouTube video in ASL about this VRS scam is also available.


It’s that time of year again, that time when you have to file your tax returns. It is also the time of year where the scammers come out of the woodwork to try to steal your money and/or identity. Scammers will try many different things to get information from you, with the list below a selection of the some of the most common ones for 2017 (so far).

  1. Email Phishing – Scammers will send an email to you that appears to be from the IRS saying such things as “You must pay this tax amount now” and “Send your information to this email to avoid penalties”. Be very cautious of these emails and don’t hesitate to ask a tax professional for any advice on how to proceed.
  2. Phone Scams – The IRS will NEVER call people randomly and say that they must make a payment immediately. They will always contact you by U.S. mail first. If you receive a call that you feel may be alarming or threatening just hang up and report it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.
  3. Email Look-A-Like – Tax preparers will send you emails from time to time to talk about tax prep and planning, but this new type of scamming is when a scammer will send a tax related email to you, but from a fake email address that looks very similar to the ones we use. For instance, ehastings@bvcocpas.com is a proper email from Barnard Vogler & Co., but be sure that you are not getting an email from ehastings@outlook.com. That is a fake email, where the scammer just looks for you to send your information to them or attach a pdf that you go and open, which can include a virus. This one is tricky, but pay attention to all emails that you receive to avoid this scam.

These are just a few scams of the many that are out there. Educate yourself by going to IRS.gov and report any phishing emails to



Barnard Vogler & Co.
100 W. Liberty St., Suite 1100
Reno, NV 89501

T: (775) 786-6141
F: (775) 323-6211
E: information@bvcocpas.com


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