Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tax Season Scams

Thank you, Al Clark!!!

Al sent me this article on Tax Time Scams.  Couldn't be more timely after the recent article about inmates filing bogus tax returns that the IRS just caught up with.  Tax scams are a reality.

Protect yourself!!!  Don't use a "fly by night" pop-up tax season
tax preparer.  The fee may be great until you loose your identity or see the results of the scam. 

Whether your situation is you need free tax prep or can afford to pay for it, there are viable options like AARP, accountants, or known national and local tax prep operations. 

Be safe out there


Topic Summary: This time of year brings out many tax--scam artists who prey on  low-income consumers and unknowing seniors. Here are few tips that can hopefully keep you aware of the scams.

  • The "IRS" sends you an email. The IRS doesn't send unsolicited email to taxpayers. 
  • The IRS calls you and offers filing help over the phone... "if you will just get your social security number we can start now". The IRS would never call in a situation where you do not have ongoing communications with them.
  • You get a text message or note on your social networking site from the "IRS." They will never contact you this way.
  • You see an offer from an unfamiliar for-profit tax service selling refund and credit schemes.
  • You get internet offers for tax help directing you to call toll-free numbers... and they ask for your Social Security number.
  • There is an offer of free money from the "IRS" (or Social Security) with no documentation required.
  • You see a promise of refunds for "Low Income - No Documents Tax Returns."
  • You're offered a way to make a claim for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or for economic stimulus payments.
  • You get an offer for free tax preparation for a split of the refund.
  • You get offers for help on your taxes from firms outside your immediate area.

Like most scams, sometimes the caller says your bank account information is needed to send you a direct deposit for the expected tax refund. Instead of sending you a cash refund, they will drain your account.
Another version: An e-mail states you have a tax refund owed to you and they'll deposit it directly to your Visa or MasterCard. All you have to do is fill out an attached form. Don't do that either.

 Common Sense:  Why would a website, e-mailer or phone caller whom you never heard of, want to help you!
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