Tax Scams You Should Watch Out For
Tax season is in full swing. With this time of year comes many tax scams with people trying to get money or information from you. To help you keep alert, we will go over common tax scams to watch out for and what to do if you are the target of one.
Threatening Phone Calls
The threatening phone call scam has been going for years and does not show any signs of slowing down. With this scam, you will receive a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent telling you that you owe taxes. Most often they try to scare you by telling you that you will be arrested if they fail to pay or that the police are already on their way. They use scare tactics to try to induce you to give them bank information to pay for taxes that you do not actually owe.
Email Phishing Scams
Another scam that has been around for years are email phishing tax scams. They come in many different forms, but their main goal is to trick you into giving them your personal information. Some emails will use the IRS logo. The email will prompt with such lines as click here to see your refund or click here to see a problem with your return. If you click, you will end up on a page that may ask for you to enter in personal information.
Another email tax scam going around pretends to be coming from Turbo Tax. The scammers will send you an email with a fake Turbo Tax logo. The email may say that there was a problem with your return or than you can log in to see your refund. When you click on a link in the email it will take you to a page that will prompt you to enter in personal information.
This year has brought about a new tax scam. For this scam, a fake tax return will be filed with your information. Then a refund will be deposited into your bank account from the IRS. After that, the scammers will call pretending to be a debt collection agency working on behalf of the IRS. They will tell you that the refund was deposited into your account in error and you need to forward that money to the collection agency.
Additionally, they use an automated prerecorded call claiming to be the IRS. The recorded message will threaten you with criminal charges and an arrest warrant if you do not return the funds. Then it will give you a case number and a phone number to call to return the refund to the scammers.
What to Do If You Are the Target of a Tax Scam
If you find you are the target of a tax scam, there may be some steps you can take. If you find you have had a refund erroneously deposited you should contact your bank. Have the bank return the refund to the IRS. Then you should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, for individual returns, or at 1-800-829-4932, for business returns, and explain to them what happened.
If you receive a phone call, hang up and do not give out any personal information. If you receive any emails, do not click anywhere in the email, just delete it. It is important to note that the IRS does not correspond by phone or email. They only correspond through the mail. If you want to check the status of your refund use only the one provided on the IRS’ website. You can also report scams to the IRS by following the directions outlined on their website.
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