Protect Yourself from Tax Season Scams

Financial tips

Protect Yourself from Tax Season Scams

Posted by Infinite Wealth Advisors, LLC
4 years ago | March 28, 2016

Tech for seniorYou might not enjoy tax season, but guess who loves it? Con artists look forward to this time of year, because many of their scams involve identity theft and tax refund schemes. Protect yourself, and your personal information, by keeping your eyes peeled for these signs of trouble.

Suspicious phone calls. Even if your caller ID displays something like “Washington, DC” or even “Internal Revenue Service”, this doesn’t mean it’s actually the IRS calling you. Con artists have developed sophisticated methods of trickery, and they can program their numbers to that they appear official on your Caller ID display.

Once you answer the phone, an “IRS agent” might frighten you by informing you of an audit, or even threatening law enforcement action. Don’t fall for scare tactics! The IRS will contact you by mail if there is a problem with your return, and they won’t call the police or have you deported.

Never give personal tax information over the phone. If you want to verify that the IRS really is calling you, hang up the phone and call them back at 1-800-829-1040. A representative can tell you whether the call you received was legitimate. It probably was not.

“Bad news”. You file your tax return, only to receive a message stating that you have already filed. How is this possible? Unfortunately, this means you have already been a victim of identity theft, and a criminal has collected a phony tax return in your name. It’s likely that they gained access to your Social Security number at some point during the previous year. At this point, you must report the problem to the IRS, and they will issue you a special PIN which you can use to file your taxes in the future.

Charity scams. You might be encouraged to donate to a very official-sounding charity, with a reminder that you can write off your donation as a tax deduction. But you can’t claim a donation to a fake charity, so check with the IRS first to be sure the organization has been approved by them. In many cases con artists set up fake charities with names that are very similar to real ones.

Fake accountants. You might receive a solicitation for free or cheap tax preparation, or a promise of a larger tax refund. Sometimes these are con artists who just want to steal your information and then claim your refund for themselves. Check with the Better Business Bureau, or use a known and dedicated accountant to file your taxes.

If you have any questions about financial planning, or protecting your money, give us a call and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

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