Internal revenue service announces dirty dozen tax scams
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced its annual “Dirty Dozen” tax scams with a special emphasis on aggressive and evolving schemes related to COVID-10 tax relief, including Economic Impact Payments. The criminals behind these bogus schemes view everyone as potentially easy prey, especially the elderly. Tax scams tend to rise during times of crisis, and America is definitely in a crisis period with the pandemic, inflation, the border invasion, rising crime and more.
The scam list is available for viewing on the IRS website at IRS.gov. Taxpayers are encouraged to review the list in a special section, and the agency notes that taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else. Consumers can protect themselves by choosing a reputable, qualified tax preparer. The IRS urges taxpayers to refrain from engaging anyone on a phone call who identifies themselves as an IRS agent or representative.
Taxpayers need to be aware of Phishing, or fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. Do NOT click on any links claiming to be from the IRS. Criminals also exploit natural disasters and the pandemic by setting up fake charities. Bogus websites use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people into sending money or provide personal financial information.
Threatening impersonator phone call scams come in many forms. The scammer will attempt to instill fear and urgency in the potential victim. The IRS will never demand immediate payment, threaten, ask for financial information, or call about an unexpected refund or Economic Impact Payment.
Taxpayers should also be aware of social media scams, such as emails where scammers impersonate someone’s family, friend, or co-workers. The Dirty Dozen also includes details on refund fraud where the crook tries to divert refunds to wrong addresses or bank accounts.
The Dirty Dozen tax scam list is something every taxpayer needs to review, including sections on senior fraud, scams that target non-English speaking people, and unscrupulous tax return preparers. You should be wary of misleading tax debt resolution companies that can exaggerate chances to settle tax debts for “pennies on the dollar” through an Offer in Compromise.
Criminals are always finding new ways to trick taxpayers into believing their scam, including putting a bogus refund into the taxpayer’s actual bank account, which means they have obtained your personal data, including your Social Security number or Individual Identification Number, and bank account information. The IRS will never demand payment by a specific method.
The comprehensive scam list also includes payroll and human resources scams designed to steal W2 forms and other tax information. These criminals have also created gift card and direct deposit scams. And Ransomware is a growing cybercrime. This is malware targeting human and technical weaknesses to infect a potential victim’s computer, network or server. In some cases, entire computer networks can be adversely impacted. The IRS notes that tax software providers usually offer free multi-factor authentication protections on their Do-It-Yourself products for taxpayers.