Tax season is, unfortunately, an ideal time for common IRS scams. As any expert in tax prep in Elkhorn, WI will tell you, falling victim to a tax-related IRS scam can cost you a great deal of money and even lead to more severe cases of identity theft. By educating yourself regarding some of the most common scams, you can easily avoid losing money or having to go through the terrible process of recovering from identity theft. Here is a short list of some of the most common scams to watch out for.
- Phone scams: Threatening calls have quickly become one of the most common IRS scams that typically occur around tax season. Usually the call uses either a blocked phone number or a number that appears legitimate, such as from the Washington, D.C. area. Sometimes the other line will be a pre-recorded message informing you that you need to call a number due to an error with your tax filing. Not all scam calls are pre-recorded, however, and in many cases the scammer on the other end will try to convince you that they are an IRS employee, usually providing a fake name and what they claim is the number of their IRS badge. Often times the caller will threaten that you need to pay more money immediately or face major problems.
- Credit card and debit card scams: Consumers should be aware that IRS officials use snail mail and never demand payment by credit card, debit card or other methods that require immediate payment. If you get a harassing call, do not offer any personal or financial information. Falling victim to this scam is particularly easy if you start the conversation by offering personal information, such as a Social Security Number, in order to verify your identity. Once again, do not offer personal information over the phone if another person has initiated a tax-related phone call with you.
- Email scams: Fake emails that look legitimate are another common scam that regularly tricks people during tax season. Most of the time, these emails are phishing for information, not money, although the scammers may ask you to send them prepaid debit cards. Either way, the emails often appear completely legitimate, and the email address may even appear to contain IRS-related information. Although there are numerous scams out there that try to solicit credit card information, during tax season the tactics are more likely to be something seeking personal information. Once again, the tactic is to have you confirm your identity and tax filing by offering personal information including dates of birth, home addresses, bank routing information or Social Security Number. Take it from an expert in tax prep in Elkhorn, WI: the IRS will not be checking in with you via email to confirm your identity.
Although scams like these are the most common, some others do exist. There are fraudulent tax prep services that exist both in person and online. Remember to verify, such as with the Better Business Bureau, the validity of any service that helps with your taxes before handing over important personal information. Allow your tax season to go smoothly by avoiding common IRS scams.