(COLORADO) – It’s tax season, which means people all over the place are filing taxes, dreading filing taxes, or planning on how to spend their tax returns.
However, scammers, con artists, crooks, thieves, and swindlers can take advantage of tax season to cheat people out of their hard-earned cash. They use a number of tools from fake collection phone calls to setting up fake charities.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, “During filing season, the IRS generally sees a surge in scam phone calls threatening such things as arrest, deportation and license revocation if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill.”
The IRS has also seen thieves send taxpayers fake 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.”
That’s why the IRS constantly works to educate the public about potential scams. The IRS is working to compile a list of the 12 worst schemes and scams for 2018, referred to as the “Dirty Dozen.” Currently the IRS has not yet finished 2018’s list, but we’ve included 2017’s dirty dozen list with links attached detailing how to protect your self against the scams.
2017 Dirty Dozen
- Phone Scams
- Identity Theft
- Return Preparer Fraud
- Fake Charities
- Inflated Refund Claims
- Excessive Claims for Business Credits
- Falsely Padding Deductions on Returns
- Falsifying Income to Claim Credits
- Abusive Tax Shelters
- Frivolous Tax Arguments
- Offshore Tax Avoidance
If you find yourself wondering if an IRS representative is legitimate or not, the IRS has provided guidelines explaining what’s normal and what’s not.
The IRS Will Never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Call you about an unexpected refund.
For Taxpayers Who Don’t Owe Taxes or Don’t Think They Do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov.
For Those Who Owe Taxes or Think They Do:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.
For more resources to stay safe, head over to the Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts page on IRS.gov.