Tax season is upon us, and unfortunately, so are the IRS scammers. Every year, phishing scams and other fraudulent schemes cost taxpayers millions of dollars. As tax filers prepare to submit their information to the IRS, it’s essential they stay alert and vigilant against potential scammers. This article explains the different types of IRS scams, how they’re implemented, and steps that can be taken to protect yourself from being a victim. By understanding more about IRS scams, you can strengthen your defense against fraud this tax season. So read on to learn more about staying secure this tax season.
Common IRS Scams
- Phishing Scams: This is the most common type of IRS scam, where scammers send fraudulent emails that look like they’re coming from the IRS. These phishing emails usually contain links to malicious websites or attachments containing malware.
- Phone Scams: In this type of scam, scammers call taxpayers pretending to be from the IRS. They will often threaten legal action, such as an arrest or lawsuit if they don’t receive payment immediately.
- Identity Theft: In this type of scam, scammers gain access to personal information, like Social Security numbers, and use it to file fraudulent tax returns in someone else’s name.
- Fake Charities: In this type of scam, scammers pose as charitable organizations and ask for donations in order to claim a tax deduction.
- Tax Preparer Fraud: In this type of scam, scammers pose as legitimate tax preparers and offer services with the intention of stealing taxpayers’ personal information and money.
Steps To Protect Yourself
It is important to keep in mind that the IRS will never contact you by phone, email, or text message. Any correspondence the IRS sends will be by regular mail. If you receive any digital communication from a source claiming to be the IRS, be wary. Follow these steps to stay safe:
- Never respond to phishing emails or click any links they contain. Clicking on phishing links can install malicious software onto your computer or mobile device that can steal personal information.
- Be aware of IRS phone scams, and do not disclose personal information over the phone.
- Use strong passwords for all your accounts and change them regularly.
- File your taxes early, if able, to avoid being a target for identity thieves.
- Be sure to donate only to legitimate charities that are certified by the IRS.
- Only work with a reputable tax preparer and make sure they are credentialed with the IRS before providing them with your personal information.
What To Do If You Think You’ve Been the Victim Of An IRS Scam
If you think you’ve been the victim of an IRS scam, take the following steps immediately:
- Contact your local police department or FBI to report the incident.
- Notify your bank and credit card companies about any unauthorized transactions.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov.
- Contact the IRS to report any phishing attempts or fraudulent tax returns.
Tax season can be a stressful time, even without the risks of scams. Therefore, it’s important to stay alert and vigilant against potential scammers to save yourself the headache of your information being compromised. By understanding more about the different types of IRS scams and taking the steps outlined above, you can help protect yourself from phishing attacks and other fraudulent activities this tax season.
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