Tax season is here, and with it comes increased scams. Below are various scams the IRS has identified that taxpayers may encounter during tax filing season.
Phishing scams usually involve unsolicited emails or fake websites that pose as legitimate IRS sites to convince you to provide personal or financial information. Once scam artists obtain this information, they use it to commit identity or financial theft. It’s important to remember that the IRS states they will never initiate contact with you by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any electronic communication, such as text messages and social media. Contact email@example.com about unsolicited emails from IRS imposters.
2. Phone scams
Phone scams typically involve a phone call from someone claiming you owe money to the IRS or that you’re entitled to a large refund. The calls may show up as coming from the IRS on your Caller ID, be accompanied by fake emails that appear to be from the IRS or involve follow-up calls from individuals saying they are from law enforcement. Sometimes these callers may even threaten you with arrest, license revocation or deportation. In the latest twist on a scam related to Social Security numbers, scammers use robocalls to leave voicemails claiming to be able to suspend or cancel the victim’s SSN.
Some scammers use video relay services (VRS) to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. The IRS urges taxpayers to not trust calls just because they come through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For details, please see the IRS video: Tax Scams via Video Relay Service.
3. Tax-related Identity theft
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to claim a fraudulent tax refund. You may not even realize you’ve been the victim of identity theft until you file your tax return and discover that a return has already been filed using your Social Security number. Or the IRS may send you a letter indicating it has identified a suspicious return using your Social Security number.
4. Return preparer fraud
Sometimes scam artists pose as legitimate tax preparers and try to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers by committing refund fraud or identity theft. It’s essential to choose a tax preparer carefully since you are legally responsible for what’s on your return, even if someone else prepares it for you.
5. Inflated refund claims
Taxpayers should be wary of anyone promising an unreasonably large or inflated refund. These scam artists may ask you to sign a blank return and guarantee a big refund without looking at your tax records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund.
6. Fake charities
Groups sometimes pose as charitable organizations to solicit donations from unsuspecting donors. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to more well-known organizations. Before donating to a charity, make sure that it is legitimate. The IRS website has tools to assist you find out the status of a charitable organization.
The IRS urges all taxpayers to use caution before paying unexpected tax bills. If you think something looks or sounds suspicious, be sure to contact the IRS. Keep your personal and financial information safe.
Concerned your Elevations Credit Union account may be at risk? Email our fraud team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Concerned your Elevations Credit or Debit card may be compromised? Please report it as soon as possible. To report fraud or dispute a transaction, please call 888.346.4412.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019.
Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.