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Did You Know: Tax Scams Are More Prevalent Than Ever?

March 28, 2018 | Mitch Estling

Did you know:
Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to pull off a variety of scams.

Now that you know – here’s what it means!
The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. Here are some of the more common ways scammers are contacting people:

  • A new scam that is emerging this year involves erroneous tax refunds being deposited into a person’s bank account. This happens when the criminals steal client data, file a fraudulent tax return and then use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts for the deposit. Once the refund is deposited, the thieves contact the victim demanding the money be returned to a third party, such as a collection agency.
  • In another phone scam, callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
  • Phishing (as in “fishing for information”) is a scam where fraudsters send e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims’ identity. Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

And here are the details: To report tax-related illegal activities, refer to this IRS chart explaining the types of activity and the appropriate forms or other methods to use. You should also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

Need help understanding how to keep your tax information secure? Start Here.

The knowledge doesn’t end here. Check back each month for new content that will include industry trends, thoughtful advice, and details about how BerganKDV and our team of experts can be the resource you need. If you’re looking for professional services the Midwest way, start here!

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