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Beware of Tax Scams this Season

It’s officially tax season, but we all know what comes with it: scams, and lots of them. According to the IRS, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and personal information to tax scams. Scammers use whatever means they can – through regular mail, telephone calls, and email to scam individual tax payers, businesses, and even tax professionals. Here is recent consumer alert information from the IRS regarding the different types of scams that are currently out there:

Scams Targeting Taxpayers: IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams

This type of scam can target senior citizens, recent immigrants, and even hard-of-hearing individuals. The caller claims to be from the IRS and tell the victims that they owe money. They go on to tell them if it isn’t paid promptly, they will be arrested or deported. Even Limited English Proficiency individuals are approached in their native language and threatened with deportation, police arrest and even license revocation.

Scams Targeting Tax Professionals

A few recent scams that target tax professionals specifically include:

  • E-Services Scam: This scam tricks tax professionals into “signing” an e-Services user agreement. The scam seeks to steals passwords and other data.
  • “Unlock” Tax Software Accounts Scam: Sent out in email form, this scam tells recipients that access to their tax prep software has been “Suspended due to errors in your security details.” The email contains an “unlock” link that takes the tax professional to a fake webpage where they have to enter personal information.
  • Fake Software Providers Scam: This email scam pretends to be from tax software providers and tricks recipients into clicking on a bogus link to retrieve information such as passwords, social security numbers or credit card numbers to pay unnecessary payments.

Other Recent Scams: Email, Phishing, Malware Schemes and More

  • Several alerts have been released regarding the use of the IRS name or logo by scammers that try to gain access to the recipient’s financial information.
  • Email scams that specifically target Hotmail users used to steal personal and financial information.
  • Scam emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel about tax refunds.
  • A new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.
  • Bogus phone calls from IRS impersonators demanding payment for a non-existent tax they call the “Federal Student Tax”.

According to the IRS site, here a few things to remember that the IRS does NOT do. Anything that goes against these should be considered suspicious activity:

  • They do not call to demand immediate payment. Generally the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe taxes.
  • They do not threaten to bring local police to have you arrested for not paying.
  • They do not demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question the amount owed.
  • They do not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

To see more information regarding tax scams and to learn how to protect yourself, please CLICK HERE to visit the IRS site.