Tax Scams Continue in our Region

1.)   Phony refund
In one scenario, scammers use your identity to file a phony tax return in your name. The refund will be deposited directly into your account. Then, the scammers will call you, posing as IRS officials. They’ll claim this money was mistakenly deposited in your account and must be returned. You may be threatened with criminal charges, an arrest warrant, or blacklisting of your Social Security number. If you comply with the scammer’s instructions, you’ll be sending this money directly to them. You’ll also have difficulty filing a legitimate return.

2.)   Identity theft
In another version, scammers will use tax season to lure you into sharing your personal information.  Here’s how it works: You log onto a “tax prep” site and fill in all the information necessary to e-file your return. Unfortunately for you, the site is bogus and you just shared all of your identifying details with a band of crooks. Once these scammers have this information, they can do untold damage to your finances and credit score.  

3.)   Tax collectors
In this scam, criminals pose as IRS agents and call up unsuspecting taxpayers, claiming they owe a large amount of money to the IRS. They may threaten to arrest the victim, suspend their driver’s license or freeze their accounts. The heavy accents, poor command of English and fake IRS badge numbers can help you recognize these scammers for what they are.

Fighting identity theft
• Know the IRS will not attempt to reach you by phone.
• File early in the tax season.
• Only e-file using a secure internet connection.
• When using an online tax preparation service, look for the required tax-preparer identification number on the web page. If you can’t find it, immediately log off.
• Check the URL of any tax prep site for an “https.” Look for that “s” on every subsequent page you visit on the site.
• If you use a personal tax preparer, ask about their data security practices.

If you’ve been scammed
If you suspect that you’ve received an illegitimate “tax refund,” contact the IRS immediately. Depending on the extent of the scam, you may also need to file an Identity Theft Affidavit. Visit or to report the scam to the FTC.

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