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3/31/2014 3:57:00 PM
Church workers, volunteers victimized by fraud
Staff and news service reports

The Archdiocese of Portland has been notified by 76 people that they may be victims of tax fraud similar to that which has been reported in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Those who have notified the Archdiocese of Portland have been employees or volunteers of the archdiocese. Victims learned of the fraud when they received a notice from the IRS that more than one tax return has been filed using the same Social Security number.

A nationwide telephone scam targeting taxpayers is being investigated by federal agencies and has involved more than 1,000 current and former employees and volunteers of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

The IRS said the victims in Seattle are among thousands nationwide who have lost more than $1 million in recent months in the scam.

Archdiocese of Portland officials have been in contact with the Archdiocese of Seattle and IRS officials investigating the situation in Seattle.

According to the IRS, in Seattle victims were contacted by individuals claiming to be IRS agents, placing unsolicited calls to people to tell them they owe taxes. They are told they must pay immediately by pre-paid debit card or a wire transfer or they could face arrest or deportation or lose their business. The Seattle Archdiocese scheduled a series of regional meetings with IRS representatives to provide information about tax identify fraud to victims and others who may have been contacted.

The Archdiocese of Portland encourages anyone who suspects they are a victim of identity theft to call the IRS’ Identity Protection Unit at 800-908-4490 ext. 245.

The Archdiocese of Portland has a link to IRS information concerning ID theft on the archdiocesan website’s home page, archdpdx.org.

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