Insurance Blog
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 00:22

Beware of IRS Taxpayer Scams

The Latest Scam Alert: Scams Targeting Taxpayers

The IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency

On February 2nd, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

Following up on a Security Summit alert, the IRS issued this additional warning about the new scheme after discovering more tax practitioners’ computer files have been breached. In addition, the number of potential taxpayer victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in just days. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division continues its investigation into the scope and breadth of this scheme. These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit. Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

See IR-2018-27

Know How to Identify IRS Scams

According to the IRS, taxpayers have lost millions of dollars as well as their personal information due to tax scams. And no one is truly safe if they are unaware of what scammers can do. Scammers are quite clever at using postal mail, telephone (both landlines and cell numbers), or email to prey upon individuals, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals.

Don’t get scammed.

Be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam.

  • The IRS will not call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • The IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • The IRS will not threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status.

Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

Additional Recent Tax Scams

The following is a list of other current scams to watch for:

How to Report Tax-Related Schemes, Scams, Identity Theft and Fraud

To report tax-related illegal activities, refer to the IRS chart explaining the types of activity and the appropriate forms or other methods to use. You should also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

Protect Your Personal Information At All Times

Leave your Social Security card, tax records and other sensitive information in a secure location. If you must provide your important data online, such as your Social Security number, verify that the website you are visiting is legitimate and secure --  look for a green lock in your browser address bar which indicates the site has a security certificate. Never give your social security number to anyone by phone or email. While reports of tax identity theft are down, scammers are always looking for new ways to gain access to personal information and accounts. Remain vigilant to ensure that you are not a victim of a tax scam. 

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Source: IRS.gov

 

Read 1182 times Last modified on Wednesday, 21 February 2018 14:55

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