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Seven 2017 IRS Tax Scams To Watch Out For
Which tax scams should I be on the lookout for in 2017?
As tax season is upon us, Brandt & Associates wants to remind taxpayers to be on the lookout for an array of elaborate tax scams related to identity theft and tax refund fraud. Scam artists continually look for new ways to fool taxpayers out of their hard-earned money, sensitive financial information or even access to their very computers. No matter how careful you are, there is always the possibility that identity thieves could steal your personally identifiable information and try to cash in by filing fraudulent tax returns in your name.
Requesting fake tax payments: The IRS has seen auto-dialed calls where the scammer leaves an urgent callback requests informing the taxpayers to call back to settle their "tax bill." Many of these fake calls claim to be the final warning before a legal action is taken. A Taxpayer should also look out for live calls from a person impersonating the IRS. They could demand payments on prepaid iTunes, debit cards and other gift cards or request a wire transfer. The IRS reminds taxpayers that any request to settle a tax bill using any of these payment methods is a clear indication of a scam.
Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals: Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of phishing email schemes that pretend to be from company executives and request personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this scam, the "CEO" sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and financial and personal information including Social Security numbers (SSN).
Demanding payment for a fake "Federal Student Tax" targeting students and parents : Telephone scammers are targeting students and parents demanding payments for fictitious taxes, such as the "Federal Student Tax." If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.
Mailing a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act: The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email or letter that includes the fake CP2000. The fraudulent notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to "I.R.S." to the "Austin Processing Center" at a Post Office Box address. Learn more at Reporting Phising and Online Scams.
"Verifying" tax return information over the phone: Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as a Social Security number (SSN) or personal financial information, including bank numbers or credit cards.
Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act: The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email or letter that includes the fake CP2000. The fraudulent notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to "I.R.S." to the "Austin Processing Center" at a Post Office Box address.
Imitating software providers to trick tax professionals: Tax professionals may receive emails pretending to be from tax software companies. The email scheme requests the recipient to download and install an important software update via a link included in the e-mail. Upon completion, tax professionals believe they have downloaded a software update when in fact they have loaded a program designed to track the tax professional's keystrokes, which is a common tactic used by cyber thieves to steal login information, passwords and other sensitive data.
Pretending to be from the credible tax preparation industry: The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails or text messages can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.
What should I do if I've received a suspicious phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the IRS?
If you receive an unusual or unexpected call, unsolicited email, letter or text from someone claiming to be from the IRS, please be advised that the IRS will never:
If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:
If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or believe that you've been a victim of an IRS tax scam, don't hesitate to call Brandt & Associates at (703) 549-2686.