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.
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.
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.
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.
During 2020, millions of taxpayers were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss or reduced work hours. Some taxpayers who faced unemployment or reduced work hours applied for and received unemployment compensation from their state. As a reminder, unemployment benefits are taxable income and must be reported on tax returns.