24 Mar PROTECT YOURSELF FROM TAX SEASON FRAUD
Unfortunately, tax season tends to be a haven for those looking to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. Many times this can occur when someone tries to file a fraudulent tax return in your name. Some have reported receiving a call from a phony Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent who asks them for personal information. If you receive one of these calls, do NOT give them any of your personal information! IRS agents will never call you asking for personal information.
Each year the IRS reports on several tax-related scams, and it’s important to highlight the top three: phishing and malware schemes, identity theft and falsely filed tax returns, and impersonation scams. When a criminal has your personal information they can continue to commit other identity theft that goes well beyond the tax season, so it’s important to protect yourself by never giving out personal information.
Phishing and Malware Schemes
This type of scam often occurs when a criminal sends a convincing phishing email to your inbox. The goal of this email is to get you to click through the links within the email and then enter sensitive personal information, which they can capture and use to commit identity theft.
- NEVER click on foreign email links.
- Research the organization that is claiming to have sent you the email.
- DON’T reply to emails asking for sensitive personal information.
Identity Theft and Falsely Filed Tax Returns
If a criminal has been able to obtain your personal information, they can use it to commit tax fraud. If the criminal files a return in your name before you do, they will receive your tax return and force you to go through the tedious process of proving that it was not you that filed the original return.
- NEVER give out personal information over the phone.
- File your tax return soon after you receive your W-2 from your employer.
Every year the IRS receives information about criminals impersonating IRS agents over the phone. Criminals impersonating an IRS agent may claim that you owe the IRS money, and in order to receive your refund this year you have to pay them right away. It’s important to note that if you owe the IRS money, you will receive an official bill in the mail before being contacted by phone or email. They also state that they will never ask for the following information over the phone:
- Credit or debit card numbers;
- Demand immediate payment;
- Threaten to get the local police involved;
- Demand that you pay in taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
If you do happen to receive a phony email or call from the IRS, report it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also report scams via the following website: https://www.irs.gov/uac/tax-scams-consumer-alerts.