Don’t file with fraudsters this tax season
You may hate to do your taxes, but some scammers eagerly await the season. And as we approach Tax Day this year, the IRS is warning of a surge in phone scams
where fraudsters impersonating IRS agents aggressively threaten arrest, deportation, and other actions, if the person on the other end doesn’t immediately give up money or personal financial information. But that’s not the only way fraudsters are attempting to make hay on the season. Here’s what you should know so you don’t get fleeced when filing your claims:
1. The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment. Period.
The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text, or through social media to request personal information. If you get a communication from someone purporting to be from the IRS, it may be someone trying to steal your identity by getting your personal information. Report such attempts to firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Promises of larger-than-normal tax returns should be a red flag that the tax preparer may not be above board.
4. Ethical tax preparers do not charge a percentage of the refund amount as a fee or require you to split the refund with them.
Some scammers pose as fake charities to attract donations from taxpayers. Look into
the status of a charitable organization before you donate.
Every tax preparer has to have a PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number). Ask to see the number. (A list of IRS actions against preparers can be found here
if you want to see if the preparer has had a problem before.)
7. Tax preparers who encourage you to place false information on your tax return are breaking the law.
8. Promises of “free money” from the IRS or Social Security refunds or rebates are part of scams known to lure low-income and elderly consumers to a fraudulent website or tax scam artist.
9. Fraudsters will try to attract taxpayers by promising that you can file a tax return with little or no documentation, which is untrue.
The IRS offers free assistance
in preparing taxes. More information on how to pick a tax preparer and programs offered through the IRS can be found here
This article was updated on 2/25/2015.