Every year, the IRS publishes its tax scam watch list called the “Dirty Dozen” (www.irs.gov/newsroom/dirty-dozen). From its website, here are a few of the tax-related scams to steer clear of:
- Unethical or dishonest tax preparers. The IRS recommends that you review any preparer’s credentials. Be sure to check the individual’s IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
- Identity theft. It’s still prevalent, despite increased scrutiny and protective measures taken by the consumer. Take care with all your personal information and never share it with someone you don’t know or trust.
- Phone call solicitations that are antagonistic or intimidating. Fraudsters will claim to be IRS agents. The goal? Stealing your information and money. The IRS adds that there is often a surfeit of phone calls to taxpayers this time of year. The calls may include thinly veiled threats or even direct ones, suggesting arrest, deportation and license revocation if the taxpayer doesn’t take care of a false tax bill.
- Falsified tax returns. More recently, the IRS reports that identity thieves may file fraudulent tax returns with refunds going into the real taxpayer’s bank account – followed by a phone call trying to con the taxpayer to send the money to the scammer. (Read more at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/phone-scams-pose-serious-threat-remain-on-irs-dirty-dozen-list-of-tax-scams.)
IRS Security Tips:
- Download security software with firewall and anti-virus protection on your laptop, tablet, and desktop computer. If you store personal information, such as tax records, encrypt these files. Always use strong and unique passwords for your data.
- When viewing emails, never click on links or download attachments from unknown sources. Remember, the IRS will never solicit you in this way.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet, briefcase or car. Instead, leave it safely stored at home.
You can rest assured knowing that IRS professionals watch for these types of scams continually. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 616.532.9067 or review the IRS Dirty Dozen listing at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/dirty-dozen.
If you need to report a tax scam, visit this page for IRS instructions: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/tax-scams-how-to-report-them.