Beware of Tax Scams and Unethical Preparers

February 07, 2012

Denver, CO – February 7, 2012 – Whether you have filed your taxes already or not, now is the time to be especially guarded against tax scams. For those who still need to file, it is important to choose one of the many reputable tax preparers out there and not fall victim to someone unethical. For those who have filed already, beware of any strange communications about your refund that appear to be coming from your bank or the IRS.

“It’s the time of year for tax filers to steer clear of unqualified preparers who are just trying to make a buck and may not be very honest,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. “Tax season is also when scammers make an extra push to get people to fall for phishing attempts.”

One of the most common tax scams involves phishing for your private information by someone who is impersonating the IRS. They may say that there is a problem with your refund and they need your personal and/or financial information to resolve the issue. These phishing attempts have been known to happen via phone or email. Consumers should know that the IRS does not correspond with the public in this manner.

Unethical tax preparers have been known to skim part of their clients’ refunds, overcharge for services, and attract clients by making promises that are too good to be true. According to the IRS, federal courts have issued hundreds of injunctions ordering individuals to cease preparing returns, and the Department of Justice has pending complaints against dozens of others.


Follow these tips from your BBB to avoid falling victim to a scam as tax season wraps up:

  • Beware of any phishing emails or phone calls that seem to be from the IRS or your bank. Do not give any personal information or click on any links.
  • Contact the IRS or your bank directly if you receive such a correspondence. Ask them if they are trying to get in touch with you. They are likely NOT and you should forward them the email you received for them to investigate.
  • Beware of anyone who pressures you to sign up for immediate payment of your refund that involves high interest loan. Consider these options carefully and do not be high-pressured.
  • Beware of those that boast they can get larger refunds than their competitors.
  • Beware of anyone who bases their fee on a percentage of the refund amount, rather than the complexity of the tax return.
  • Check out tax preparers with your BBB first at

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