Tax season is in full swing and tax professionals across New York and the rest of the country are hard at work. But do you know who else is hard at work? Tax scammers. Tax season can be stressful enough as it is, and falling for a scam only makes it that much worse.
The IRS recently released a list of the “dirty dozen” scams tax preparers need to watch out for this year. Here are several of the scams included on the list:
Phone scams. For years, scam artists have tried to prey on taxpayers by making threatening phone calls pretending to be IRS agents, and the IRS said the phone scams have surged in recent months. Remember that the IRS will never demand immediate payment or call about taxes without first issuing you a bill. The IRS will also never threaten to have you arrested or deported, as some tax scammers claim.
Identity theft. Identity theft occurs year-round, but it especially common during tax season when criminals try to use other people’s Social Security numbers to claim their tax returns. While the IRS is working to try to catch identity thieves, it’s still important to do whatever you can to protect your identity. You can read more from the IRS about protecting your identityhere.
Phishing. Many phony websites and emails have been created in effort to steal people’s personal information by pretending to be the IRS. The IRS will never send you an email about a tax due or a refund out of the blue, so be very suspicious of any email claiming to be from the IRS. It’s best to avoid giving personal information to any website you don’t fully trust.
Tax return preparer fraud. While the IRS states that most tax professionals provide “honest high-quality service,” it warns that there are some tax preparers out there who are dishonest and commit refund fraud by swindling taxpayers or stealing their personal information. Before you begin working with a tax preparer, insure that it is a reputable business.
These are just four of the IRS’s “dirty dozen” tax scams to watch for this tax season. To see the complete list and more details on each scam, visit the IRS’s website.