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2018 Tax Scams

Two main scams to watch out for

Tax Scam Sign on KeyboardTax season is in full swing and with it, the possibility of becoming a victim of tax scams. Because as most people are busy preparing their taxes, cybercriminals and identity thieves are at the ready to steal identities and tax refunds from unsuspecting filers. This season, there are two main scams that experts are warning folks to watch out for, take a look:

Fake IRS phone calls

The first scam that IRS consumer alerts are reporting is a phone scam that involves callers identifying themselves as a representative of the IRS. The scammers are taking several different approaches with this fraud, the first one is telling you that you owe money to the IRS and asking for your bank account or credit card information or directly demanding cash. The second approach is when they state that you are owed a refund and asking for your social security number and other personal information to verify.

These tax fraud thieves take steps to make their scam appear legitimate, including altering their caller ID to mirror the IRS and using fake names, titles and IRS employee ID numbers. Here are some tips that will help you not become a victim:

  • The IRS will never call to ask for payment of taxes or about taxes that are owed—they always mail a bill
  • They won’t demand that you pay a tax bill without first giving you the opportunity to question or appeal
  • The IRS will never ask for your credit or debit card or your bank account information over the phone
  • The IRS will never threaten to have local law enforcement arrest you for non-payment

If you get a phone call from someone who is claiming to be a representative of the IRS, take the following steps right away:

  • Do not give any information to the caller
  • Call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 and let them know you received a call, they will be able to help you by checking your taxes and alerting you if there is any problem
  • Call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration immediately at 800-366-4484 or visit their website tigta.gov to report the scam 

Phishing tax scam

Most of us have heard of phishing scams, but this one involves scammers sending fraudulent emails that contain links to phony IRS websites. This tax scam is particularly dangerous because the hackers can use technology to steal your identity and to gain access to your laptop, tablet and personal files. Most phishing emails contain fake codes and links that will appear to be authentic but if clicked on or accessed will open the door for the thief to steal your tax information, your refund or your identity. In these cases, here’s what to watch out for:

  • Emails that appear to be from the IRS and request personal information or state that you owe money or are due to a refund
  • Emails that contain links to financial institutions or to the IRS website
  • Emails that have attachments, asking you to open them and fill out personal information
  • Emails that claim your bank account or credit card account has been compromised and include a link to a website where you can address the problem

Just like phone scams, the goal of phishing emails is to get you to give away your personal information or directly scam money from you. Be aware of what phishing emails look like and remember the following facts:

  • The IRS will never contact you via email or text you about your taxes or personal information
  • The official IRS website is irs.gov
  • The only method the IRS will use to get in touch with you is via snail mail and many times certified mail

If you do receive phishing emails, do not click on any links or attachments, delete them immediately and report them to phishing@irs.gov.

Each year thousands of taxpayers are duped by scammers and end up having their tax refund stolen, become victims of ID theft or have their bank accounts or credit cards compromised. Be sure to learn all you can about the latest scams and be on the lookout for anything that seems sketchy.

All Points Mobile Shredding offers residential and commercial shredding and destruction services to help you keep your personal information safe. Visit our blog for more valuable information and resources relating to identity theft.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Mobile Shredding. All Points Mobile Shredding is a family-owned and operated on-site document destruction company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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