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Received a letter from the US Embassy? 3 July 2008

If you have recently received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States Department of the Treasury based at the United States Embassy asking for personal and financial information do not reply to it – it is a scam. The warning comes from the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading, the Office of the Data Protection Supervisor and the Financial Crime Unit of the Isle of Man Constabulary.

The letters that have been received by people across the Island try to frighten the recipients into responding by saying that a tax amnesty currently in place for those with offshore assets will expire next month and at that time not only will tax be payable but that they may be liable to prosecution.

The Office of the Data Protection Supervisor has contacted the IRS at the US Embassy and has received confirmation that the letters did not come from them.

As with all such scams, the simple advice is to throw the letter in the bin. On no account should anyone provide personal or financial details unless they are completely satisfied that the request is legitimate.

If any one has responded to one of these letters, they should as a matter of urgency inform their bankers. If anyone loses money as a result of responding to the letter they should contact their local police immediately.

People can obtain further information on avoiding scams can be found in the OFT’s leaflet “Scams”. The leaflet can be obtained from its office in Lord Street, Douglas telephone 686500, or from it’s website www.gov.im/oft

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