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The Biggest IRS Tax Scams Of The Past Season

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The Biggest IRS Tax Scams Of The Past Season

This past tax season, thousands of innocent people lost both money and personal banking information to tax scams. We will cover the three biggest IRS tax scams of this past season and hope that, as readers, you can use these as examples of what to look for when scammers are at your door.

Remember, the IRS does not contact their taxpayers through any text messages, emails or other media channels for personal financial information, ever. If you see any messages asking for your information, remain vigilant and do not confuse these hacks with the IRS.

Phishing Scammers

One of the most prevalent groups of scammers seen in 2019 were email scammers asking about a bill or a tax refund. These emails contain thieves posing as a business, an employee or an executive, congratulating a large refund or threatening a bill left unpaid. By doing so, they hope to have the receiver believe they want to reroute a direct deposit or initiate a wire transfer. They are usually accompanied by attachments and links that can steal personal information when clicked on.

Criminals have been seeking files of tax professionals, payroll professionals, human resource offices and schools or other organizations with Form W-2 information this season. If you fall victim to one of these phishing scammers, be sure to report it to phising@irs.gov to help prosecute these criminals.

Vishing: Voice Phishing

Many criminals this season have posed as IRS agents through phone scams demanding personal information from their victims. They leave unsolicited calls with aggressively urgent voicemails, claiming you need to pay a tax bill by sending cash through a wire transfer, debit card or even Visa (NYSE: V) gift card. They may even alter caller ID to make it look more legitimate and use IRS employee titles to confuse their victims.

Remember that the IRS will always bill a taxpayer who owes taxes before calling and would never demand a gift card. They will also never threaten to immediately bring in the police for the taxpayer not paying if this is the first payment missed, neither will they request your credit card information over the phone.

Identification Fraud

There has been a significant drop in tax-related identity theft in recent years, but it remains a prevalent issue this tax season. This frequently occurs when a thief obtains someone's Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which gives them the ability to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund.

The best way to protect yourself is to use firewall and antivirus protections. Make sure your security software is automatically updated for the best technological protection. Keep your Social Security card safe at home, and don’t routinely bring it out of the house: This information is as valuable as your money, and it should be stowed somewhere safe.

Bottom Line

Secure your tax records and stay away from suspicious emails. Phishing, phone calls and identify theft were the top three tax scams this year reported by the IRS. We hope that you stay attentive and wary of these hackers!

Posted-In: Education General Best of Benzinga

 

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