The holiday hustle and bustle has finally died down but before you know it, you’ll be staring your taxes straight in the face and wondering, how is it already tax season?! Unfortunately, tax season not only comes with the stress of getting your W-2’s together, but also a number of scammers who want to meddle with your taxes so they can earn a quick buck!
Last month, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced that the IRS will be teaming up with Security Summit participants in a new public awareness campaign, Taxes. Security. Together. The goal of the campaign is to help protect taxpayers and raise awareness of identity theft in the upcoming tax season.
“People continue to fall prey to clever cybercriminals who trick them into giving up Social Security numbers, account numbers or password information. In turn, criminals use this information a variety of ways, including filing fraudulent tax returns,” reported the IRS in a release.
The IRS scam is no longer a scam seen only during tax season, it has become a year round issue. Additionally, it has evolved into not just one type of scheme, but multiple types of tom-foolery hoping to dupe just about anyone.
Do you recognize any of these top 4 IRS scams?
• “Your taxes are overdue!”
The oldest trick in the book, but it still works more often than not. Scammers will send out robocalls leaving urgent messages telling consumers they will have legal action taken against them if they do not pay an overdue tax bill. Demands for payment can be made through prepaid debit or gift cards, or a money wire so consumers can avoid being arrested.
•Thriving Off Financial Fears of Students
Scammers are happy to take advantage of anyone, including vulnerable students. Scammers will call students and ruthlessly slap them with an additional “federal student tax” related to either their student loan, taxes, or even an overdue parking ticket. If payment isn’t wired immediately, students will be reported to the police.
•Disguising as Tax Software Companies
Unfortunately, scammers have found a way to weasel their way back into our lives by disguising themselves not only as the IRS, but as tax software companies too, reports the IRS. You’ll recognize these heavy hitters acting as companies like H&R Block, Turbo Tax, & Tax Act, just to name a few.
•Verifying Tax Information
Before you receive your tax return, a scammer will tell you that they need to verify your personal and financial information. Rule of thumb, if you have not verified the caller who is requesting your personal or financial information related to your taxes, DO NOT SHARE IT! Scammers will make any reason seem legitimate when they “require” your personal information. Before the IRS contacts you by phone for information, they will get a hold of you by mail first.