Even if you've heard about tax scams of the past, you may want to pay attention to the latest tax scams to avoid. Scammers constantly come up with brand new ways to part you and your hard-earned dollar, but just a little research can keep you from making a costly mistake. Learn the current tax scams to avoid, and spread the word!
If you receive a phone call from an angry IRS agent, what should you do? Remain calm, and be skeptical. Many scammers have found ways to manipulate caller ID services, so the call appears to come from an IRS office. They threaten the caller with arrest or deportation, adding insults and hostility for maximum emotional effect. Some scammers even use video relay services (VRS) to take advantage of the deaf and hard of hearing. This unprofessional behavior is not protocol for the IRS, and you should not give out your personal information over the phone.
Email and Malware
While there are many legitimate tax services online, it's important to do your research to avoid a scam. Here are just a few of the common online tax scams to avoid:
- Phishing emails "fish" for your information. If you receive an email asking for your social security number, credit card information, or other sensitive financial details, do not engage.
- Scam emails may also promise to help you with the tax process, including ordering your transcripts and verifying information. Know that unsecured emails are never official communication from the IRS.
- Fraudulent tax sites may infect your computer with malware to gain sensitive information about you. Be very careful to research any tax-filing services that you encounter to avoid such scams.
- Be wary of emails from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP). Though there is a legitimate TAP organization, it is a volunteer board with no access to taxpayer information
What to Do if You Encounter a Scammer
Have you gotten an odd phone call that gives you pause, or have you received a strange email that doesn't seem quite right? Feel free to contact the phishing department of the IRS to help them build a case against scammers. The experts can use the information from your phone calls and emails to identify and stop scammers in their tracks. And finally, remember to trust your gut. While that email about an inflated tax refund may be too good to be true, there are plenty of legitimate personal loan services that you can trust.