Tax Scams: How to Protect Yourself

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tax scams

Scammers are preying on unsuspecting taxpayers. Most of these tax scams are obvious . None the less, taxpayers continue to fall victim to scammers every day.

Here’s a few simple facts that will protect you from the vast majority of scams:

1) Phone calls, text messages, & emails claiming to be from the IRS are scams. The IRS sends official communications via written letter.

2) Treat all communications (including written letters that appear to be on IRS letterhead) as potential scams. Even though such letters are likely authentic, you shouldn’t necessarily assume that they are.

tax scams

Be on the lookout for people claiming to represent the IRS.

3) Most scammers prey on honest taxpayer’s fears. Never act impulsively or in a state of fear.  Think before taking any action and ask a trusted tax professional for a second opinion. To learn more about the most common tax scams, here are some highlights from the IRS’ “Dirty Dozen” tax scams:

  • Phone Scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. Many of these scammers can even “trick” your telephone caller ID to make it seem like they are with the IRS, another government agency, or local law enforcement. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation, etc.
  • Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will not send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS. Also, remember the official IRS website is IRS.gov. Don’t be fooled by any other domain (such as a website ending with a .com, .net, .org, or other domain).
  • Identity Theft: The IRS continues to aggressively pursue criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. The IRS is making progress on this front but taxpayers still need to be careful and take measures to protect their personal information such as Social Security Numbers.
  • Return Preparer Fraud: Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers. The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest high-quality service. But there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft, and other scams.
  • Inflated Refund Claims: Taxpayers need to be on the lookout for anyone promising inflated refunds. Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund. Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts, and word-of-mouth in seeking victims.
  • Fake Charities: Taxpayers should be on guard against groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities.

A trusted tax professional can advise you in case you’re being harassed or scammed by tax scam artists. Call Williams and Kunkel, CPA, LLP CPAs today in Flower Mound at 972-446-1040 to protect your financial health.

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