Tax Scams To Be Aware Of

Tax Scams To Be Aware Of

Tax Scams To Be Aware Of

by Steve Gamel

 

Good, honest taxpayers all over the world, including many unsuspecting residents right here in Denton County, lose millions of dollars every year to illegal tax scams. Some scams are very easy to spot while others are so highly sophisticated that even the savviest person falls for them hook, line, and sinker. Since we are in the throes of tax season, here are a few scams that prey on our fear of getting in trouble with the IRS. Be on high alert if you or a loved one are targeted by any of the following:

  • Someone claiming to be an IRS agent calls demanding immediate payment for delinquent tax obligations
  • A third party calls claiming the IRS has issued a warrant for your arrest
  • Someone claiming to be the IRS calls asking for credit card, bank account, or social security information
  • Phishing scams through email or phony website links
  • Phony tax preparers passing themselves off as legitimate businesses
  • Someone promises free money in the form of inflated refunds
  • Refund money shows up as a deposit in your bank account before you’ve even filed your return

The last scam on this list is perhaps the most interesting of them all. It’s also one of the more recent ways crooks are scamming us out of our money. According to several media outlets and the IRS, crooks are finding inventive ways to steal your data from legitimate tax professionals, including your bank account number if you’ve requested direct deposit for a refund. The scammer gives the IRS your information in the form of a fake return, then scares you with a phone call saying that you were a victim of tax fraud and to return the money. Of course, when you return the money, you are actually giving it directly to the crooks.

According to the IRS website, the number of potential taxpayer victims from this particular scam jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in a matter of a few days last year. Making things worse is that many taxpayers who receive these erroneous deposits end up spending the money or not following the proper steps to return the money directly to the IRS. The IRS wants everyone to know a good rule of thumb: when in doubt, assume it’s a scam. This is especially true if you’ve always filed your tax returns on time and have previously never been in trouble with the IRS.

A few more things to keep in mind – straight from the mouth of the IRS.

  • The IRS will never call you
  • The IRS will never send you a text message
  • The IRS will never send you an email
  • The IRS will never reach out through social media
  • The IRS will never ask you to divulge personal information (social security number, bank accounts)

The IRS has an entire page on its website dedicated to tax scams and consumer alerts. Everyone can visit that site and learn more at www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.


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