The IRS recently released their list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2015; this list describes 12 different schemes that criminals have used this year to steal identities and commit tax fraud. We’d like to discuss 5 of the most commonly seen tax scams, and tell you how you can avoid becoming a victim of one of these scams:
Phone Scams: At the start of this year’s tax season, people across the nation began to receive threatening phone calls from scam artists claiming to be IRS agents. These aggressive calls threatened people with revocation of licenses, deportation, and even arrest, attempting to use these scare tactics to steal important personal and financial information. There has been a large surge of these kinds of phone calls in recent months, so be on your guard if you receive a phone call of this kind, and don’t give the caller any of your personal or banking information.
Phishing: You should always be wary of unfamiliar or unexpected emails, even if they seem to come from a credible source like the IRS. The IRS will never send you an unexpected email about a refund or an overdue tax bill. If you receive something like this, and you aren’t expecting it, it is likely a phishing scheme, and you should not click on any of the links contained in the email. Delete the email immediately.
Identity Theft: Tax season is a common time for identity theft, because you are putting down a lot of important personal information—like your Social Security number and income—in writing, whether it’s on a physical document or on your computer. Though the IRS has made progress in pursuing these criminals, it is important that you make efforts to protect your personal information, especially during tax season. Keep your W2s and other important documents in a secure location, and only give your personal information to people and businesses that you can trust.
Fake Charities: Some scam artists will masquerade as a charity to garner donations from unsuspecting victims. Make sure you do your research before giving a donation to a charity you’re not familiar with, so you can ensure that your hard-earned money is going to a legitimate cause. You should also be on the lookout for fake charities that have similar names to other charitable institutions. You can check the statuses of various charities through IRS.gov.
Fraudulent Tax Preparers: Every year, a few dishonest individuals set up shop for tax season, pretending to be a credible tax preparer. They then use your personal information to commit tax fraud, identity theft, and other scams. You should be wary of any tax preparer who guarantees you a refund as well. Make sure you only work with a certified, trustworthy tax preparer who has security measures in place to protect your identity. At the Jones CPA Group, we utilize secure document sharing so that you can safely share your information with us online, and all physical documents in our office are kept secure and confidential.
We want all of our clients to be informed so you can avoid becoming a victim of these kinds of tax scams. Guard your personal information carefully, do your research, and work with a trustworthy tax preparer to ensure that your information remains safe and secure.
Contact us for safe and secure tax preparation. You can find the full list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams here.