Tax season can be a stressful time for many, but it’s important to stay vigilant in order to protect yourself from scammers who are targeting taxpayers. Tax scams are unfortunately on the rise, and they come in many forms. From fake emails and phone calls to text messages, it’s important to be aware of the different types of tax scams and how to protect yourself from them. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the most common types of tax scams, the signs to look out for, and how to protect yourself from being victimized.
The Types of Tax Scams
Understanding the different types of tax scams and how to protect yourself is key to ensuring your taxes are handled properly and you don’t become a victim of identity theft or other fraud. Here are the most common types of tax scams to watch out for:
IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam
The IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam is a malicious attempt to steal money or personal information by impersonating an IRS agent. This scam typically involves the scammer calling a potential victim and claiming to be an IRS representative. They will then inform the victim that they owe money to the IRS and must pay it immediately. The scammer may also threaten victims with arrest or other legal action if they do not comply with their demands.
The scammers may even provide a fake IRS badge number, or provide caller ID spoofing to make it seem like the call is coming from the real IRS. In some cases, they may also know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number, giving them added credibility.
Victims of this scam should know that the IRS does not demand payment over the phone, nor do they ask for payment via gift cards or wire transfers. If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be an IRS representative, do not give out any personal information and hang up immediately. The best way to protect yourself against this scam is to simply not answer any calls from unknown numbers.
Phony IRS Emails — "Phishing"
Phony IRS Emails, also known as phishing scams, are emails sent by criminals pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These emails claim to offer information or ask for sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, or passwords. The emails also often contain malicious attachments or links to malicious websites.
If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the IRS, do not respond to it or click any links in the message. Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it. You can also report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
It's important to be aware of these scams so that you don't become a victim of identity theft or financial fraud. Remember that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through email, social media, or text messages. If you have questions about your taxes, contact the IRS directly.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Scams
Here are some ways to protect yourself from tax scams:
Make sure you’re filing with the IRS: Tax scams usually involve someone asking you to send your tax return or payment information to an email address or website that isn’t affiliated with the IRS. The only official IRS website is www.irs.gov, so make sure you’re using this site for all your filing needs.
Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information: If you receive an email or phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, don’t provide any personal information. The IRS will never contact you via email or phone.
Beware of phishing emails: These emails usually contain links to fraudulent websites which can steal passwords and other sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, and credit card numbers. Never open attachments from people or companies you do not know
In conclusion, be sure to always research and double-check the information that you receive related to taxes. Don't trust anything that looks too good to be true, and never give out personal or financial information to anyone online or over the phone. If you have any doubts, it's always best to contact the IRS directly or consult with a reputable tax professional like SimpleTax.
Don't let tax fraud rob you of your hard-earned money. Protect yourself by consulting a knowledgeable tax professional. With the help of SimpleTax, you can rest assured that your taxes are done correctly and that you're not falling prey to any potential scams.