Tax season is still a few weeks away, but tax scammers are already active. To protect yourself from scams, it’s good to keep current on methods scammers employ. Some of the top tax scams that you are most likely to encounter this tax season are explained below.
IRS Phone Scam
The most talked about tax scam in 2014 was the IRS phone scam. When it was discovered, it was labeled as the worst tax scam of its kind. Scammers claim to be the IRS and call people over the phone to extract money, which they claim is owed for back taxes. They use intimidation techniques, threatening arrest, deportation and license revocation to force the victim to transfer money to them. They often use names of IRS agents and may duplicate, or spoof, IRS phone numbers.
If you receive an unsolicited call claiming to be from the IRS, do not share any personal, financial or tax information. Instead, call the IRS on 1-800-829-1040.
False Tax Returns
Scammers steal taxpayers’ personal and tax information to file fraudulent returns with the intent to pocket huge refunds. They use false deductions and credits, and manipulate income figures on tax returns to claim exaggerated refunds. To protect yourself from identity thieves, never share private information without first authenticating the identity of the communicator.
Scammers use email to dupe taxpayers into sharing their tax filing information with them. They usually duplicate the logo, design, style of writing, and even signatures of a reputed establishment to deceive people into thinking them legitimate. They extract sensitive information that they then use to file fraudulent tax returns and to conduct other financial crimes.
Any unsolicited communication received over the phone, through email, text messages or the social media must be scrutinized to determine authenticity. If faced with repeated intimidation or threats, seek help from the federal trade commission, the IRS or a law enforcement agency. To avoid becoming a victim to a tax scam, it is best to file your return early in the tax season.
Labels: Identity Theft, IRS, Tax Filing, Tax News, Tax Refunds, Tax Scams, Taxpayers