The IRS recently released the top 12 scams—the “dirty dozen” if you will—perpetrated on unknowing victims. Here are highlights from the IRS report:
Aggressive phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents are threatening anything from police arrest, to deportation, to license revocation if “fees” are not paid immediately. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months, and reminds taxpayers to guard against phone-based con games that arise during filing season. It is important to remember the IRS must follow certain procedures by law when contacting taxpayers, and none of those procedures include aggressive phone calls demanding immediate payment for fees you weren’t aware of.
Fake emails and IRS websites are sometimes set up to steal taxpayers’ personal information. Again, the IRS must follow certain procedures by law and will never send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on any email claiming to be from the IRS, and don’t input your information into any website even if it looks like an IRS website, based on contact from one of these emails.
Identity theft continues to be a major threat around tax time. Criminals will file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number in order to get a refund, causing major complications for the person whose identity is stolen. Make sure to carefully protect your personal information, giving only to parties who you have verified are safe, in order to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
Unscrupulous tax-return preparers are another way scammers take advantage of people. Some dishonest preparers set up temporary shops during each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. If you have someone prepare your returns, make sure they have a solid long-standing reputation.