Sometimes, taxpayers must call the IRS about a tax matter. As part of the IRS’s ongoing efforts to keep taxpayer data secure from identity thieves, IRS phone assistors take great care to discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer has authorized to speak on their behalf. Therefore, the IRS will ask taxpayers and their representatives to verify their identity when they call.
There’s never an off-season when it comes to scammers and thieves who want to trick people into scamming them out of money, stealing their personal information, or talking them into engaging in questionable behavior with their taxes. While scam attempts typically peak during tax season, taxpayers need to remain vigilant all year long. As such, it is once again time to remind taxpayers that while gift cards make great presents for loved ones, they cannot be used to pay taxes.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop scammers from targeting taxpayers by asking them to pay a fake tax bill with holiday gift cards. Scammers may also use a compromised email account to send emails requesting gift card purchases for friends, family, or co-workers.
After a natural disaster, people often rally to help victims by donating money to charitable organizations that help disaster victims. Unfortunately, this can allow criminals to prey on them by soliciting donations from fake charities. As such, before donating to charity, people should ensure their money goes to a reputable organization.
To date, the IRS has identified and reported thousands of fraudulent domains tied to multiple text scams, known as smishing, targeting taxpayers. Recently, IRS-themed smishing has increased significantly. As such, taxpayers are reminded to be on the lookout for scams and schemes that could put sensitive tax data at risk – especially this latest IRS-themed texting scams aimed at stealing personal and financial information.
Taxpayers are always responsible for the information reported on their tax returns. Businesses are encouraged to be cautious of advertised schemes and direct solicitations promising tax savings that are too good to be true.
Filing an error-free tax return is key to taxpayers getting any refund they are due as soon as possible. Using Online Account on the IRS website is the fastest and easiest way to see account information such as estimated tax payments, prior year adjusted gross income, and economic impact payment amounts. Taxpayers who don’t have an account will need to create one.
The “Dirty Dozen” is a list of common tax scams compiled by the IRS for more than 20 years to alert taxpayers and the tax professional community about tax scams and other fraudulent schemes. Designed to raise awareness among taxpayers and others who may not always be aware of developments involving tax administration, it includes potentially abusive arrangements that taxpayers should avoid. Let’s take a look at this year’s “Dirty Dozen” tax scams:
Criminals and fraudsters often see disasters as an opportunity to take advantage of victims when they are the most vulnerable, as well as the generous taxpayers who want to help with relief efforts. Generally, these disaster scams start with unsolicited contact – typically a phone call, on social media, by email, or even in person. Reviewing the tips listed below will help taxpayers recognize a scam and avoid becoming a victim.
An Identity Protection PIN is a six-digit number eligible taxpayers get to help prevent their Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from being used to file fraudulent federal income tax returns. This number helps the IRS verify a taxpayer’s identity and accept their tax return. The Get An IP PIN tool enables anyone with an SSN or ITIN to get an IP PIN after verifying their identity through a rigorous authentication process. For security reasons, tax pros cannot get an IP PIN on behalf of clients.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a taxpayer’s stolen personal information, such as a Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a false refund. Thieves are actively working to steal taxpayer information and identities, and everyone should do everything they can to prevent identity theft.