IRS Tax Scams says Carol

October 26, 2011

What’s the number one tax scam? According to the IRS it is phishing. Con artists pass themselves off as the IRS to trick you into giving them pertinent personal information, such as your social security number, bank account information and credit card numbers.

This scam is implemented in different ways. One way is to call you and try to intimidate you by saying that you are going to be arrested if you do not give personal information, such as your credit card information. And they need the information now. Immediately hang up. Remember, the IRS is not going to be calling you and threatening you. Let the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) know about the call.

Another concern is tax preparation scams. One scam is telling customers that if they are due a refund of more than $600 they have to repay the stimulus money they received last year. Of course, this is not true. You give them the “refund” and they pocket it.

Some tips for choosing a tax preparer:

  • Check out the company with the BBB before doing business.
  • Don’t work with a person that promises you a certain amount of refund.
  • Understand what the preparation fee will be. Don’t use a company just because they are the cheapest.
  • Don’t use a person who won’t sign the tax return.
  • Make sure the person preparing the return will be around in three years. Even though you are held responsible for any penalties/interest if the return is filed incorrectly, it would be helpful to have the preparer around as a resource.
  • Don’t respond to an e-mail saying they will give you free tax filing assistance.  They might ask for personal information --- or simply try to get you to reply. If you reply you are opening yourself up to computer viruses or even having your data on your computer stolen. Thieves can install spyware on your computer that will allow such things as interception of your online bank transactions. 

Don’t rule out doing your own taxes. There are software programs that can help you do that. No matter whether you hire a tax preparer or do your own taxes, here’s hoping you get a tax refund and don’t have to pay more taxes.

Have you fallen victim to any IRS tax scams?