Beware of these tax scams
From the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia:
Tax scams reappear often, each time with a slightly different spin. The main theme? Scammers posing as the Internal Revenue Service and trying to trick you into either paying bogus tax owed and/or providing them your personal information. The BBB serving Central Virginia is warning about three of the most common tax scams.
IRS-Impersonation Phone Scam
Scammers claiming to be from the IRS call unsuspecting victims and tell them they owe delinquent taxes. The scammers use fake names, bogus IRS identification badge numbers, alter the caller ID to seem like the IRS is calling, and might even have personal info about the intended victim.
They threaten intended victims with arrest and/or deportation in some cases, or suspension of business or drivers’ licenses if they don’t immediately send money on a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. They may also tell the victims they have a refund due in order to trick them into sharing private information.
Reality: The IRS will never call you and demand immediate payment or payment on a debit card or wire transfer. They will never threaten you with law enforcement, or ask for a credit card number over the phone. Here are more tips on how to spot an IRS Phone Scam.
Email Phishing Scam
Email appears to be from the IRS, including a link to [actually] a bogus website intended to mirror the IRS website. This email contains the direction “…you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” The email mentions USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between “IRS” and “gov”), none of which are actually from the IRS.
Reality: The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text message or social media to request personal or financial information. The IRS sends a letter with a local IRS office to contact for an appointment on-site.
Taxpayers who get these messages should not respond to the email or click on the links. Instead, forward the scam emails to the IRS at [email protected]. Here are more tips on what to do if you receive a suspicious email “from the IRS.”
Identity Theft Scam
The IRS has issued consumer warnings about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. Scammers will use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims. Internet identity theft is called phishing.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number to file a tax return to claim a fraudulent refund. A taxpayer’s SSN can be stolen through a data breach, a computer hack or a lost wallet. Although identity theft affects a small percentage of tax returns, it can have a major impact on victims by delaying their refunds.
Here are more tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
Additional tips to avoid being scammed this tax season include:
· Never carry your Social Security card with you.
· Never give your personal information to anyone over the phone, mail, or internet.
· If you’re filing your own taxes make sure you are using the legitimate software or website, and your antivirus and fire-wall is up-to-date.
· Be cautious of tax preparers who claim they can get you a larger return than other preparers; those who base their fees on a percentage of the amount of the refund; those who ask their clients to sign blank tax forms; or any preparer who refuses to provide a copy of the completed tax return.
Always do thorough research when finding a tax preparer or CPA so to better avoid a fly-by-night or outright scam company who charges you outrageous fees and then disappears before your tax return is even audited by the IRS. Remember that each consumer bears the responsibility for the tax return they submit. If you suspect tax fraud please report it.
How to keep your tax information secure: www.bbb.org/article/tips/16463-bbb-tip-keep-your-tax-information-secure
TAX PREPARATION WORKSHOP AT BBB: Thursday, February 13 from 8:30 am 10:30am at 100 EastShore Drive Suite 100, Glen Allen, VA 23059. Call to register 804-648-0030.
To report any scam go to the Scam Tracker .