Scammers are constantly looking for new ways to trick folks by masquerading as legitimate businesses or organizations. It’s important to stay vigilant, especially if someone contacts you asking for your personal or financial information. Scams can be extra effective around tax time. In this blog post, we’ll explore a few recent tax scams so you’ll know what to be on the look out for.
Fake Tax Return
In some cases, scammers file a false tax return and have the refund deposited into your bank account. They then contact you, usually by phone, acting as the IRS to demand that you return the money to the IRS. However, following their directions just sends the cash to them.
In a similar scenario, another common scheme is an automated phone call from the “IRS” that threatens criminal charges and arrest. The caller leaves a case number and phone number for you to call to return the refund and resolve the issue. Don’t fall for it!
If you or someone you know has been affected by the fake tax return scam, here are steps for resolving the issue, directly from the IRS.
Another common tax-related scam is related to filing your taxes online. Some identity thieves are gathering personal information via lookalike sites that look like the real thing. These sites are set up to collect your personal information, which can be used to commit fraud. When entering sensitive information online, always check for “https://” at the beginning of the website address; the “s” lets you know that you are on a secure site. Check for this on every page of the site, not just the login page.
Look for the tax preparer identification number if you are using an online tax preparation service. Ask your tax preparer about their data security policies and how your information will be protected.
Is the IRS Trying to Contact You?
Not sure if you’re being contacted by the IRS or a would-be identity thief? Here are a few tips to help you determine what’s going on. First, note that the IRS is most likely to contact you through mail sent through the United States Postal Service. In some cases, the IRS may call or visit your home or business, but you’ll generally receive several notice letters in the mail prior to these actions. The IRS does not call to demand immediate payment to a source other than the US Treasury or by using a specific payment method (like a wire transfer or prepaid debit card). The IRS also doesn’t threaten to bring in law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying your taxes on time. If you are visited by an IRS representative, that individual should provide two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. You can learn more about how the IRS may contact you here.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a tax scam, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.