Beware Of These Recent Tax Scams

The tax season means a new chance for criminals to place new fraudulent schemes into operation to commit identity theft and refund fraud. As tax professionals, the Thorgood Law Firm has an ongoing commitment to maintaining vigilance for such illegal practices and protecting the sensitive, personal data of our clients.

Every tax season, there is an increase in schemes that target innocent taxpayers by email, by phone and on-line. All taxpayers and tax professionals should be on the lookout for these fraudulent, deceptive schemes.

“Whether it’s during the holidays or the approach of tax season, scam artists look for ways to use tax agencies and the tax industry to trick and confuse people,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “There are warning signs to these scams people should watch out for, and simple steps to avoid being duped into giving these criminals money, sensitive financial information or access to computers.”

Some of the most prevalent and recent IRS-impersonation scams include:

  • Requesting fake tax payments: This scam involves callers leaving urgent callback requests telling taxpayers to return the call to settle their (alleged) tax bill. The calls also typically state that it is the last warning before legal action is taken. Scams also involve callers posing as IRS employees who demand payments on prepaid debit cards, iTunes and other gift cards or wire transfer. Any request to settle a tax bill using any of these payment methods is a clear indication of a scam. ((IR-2016-99)
  • Demanding payment for a fake “Federal Student Tax”: This telephone scam targets students and their parents demanding payments for the fictitious “Federal Student Tax.” The caller often resorts to aggressively threaten to report the student to the police to be arrested. (IR-2016-107)
  • Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act: This scheme involves fraudulent versions of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015 being sent to taxpayers. 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. (IR-2016-123))
  • Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals:  Payroll and human resources professionals should especially be aware of phishing email schemes that appear to be from company executives requesting employees’ personal information such as a Social Security number. ((IR-2016-34)
  • Imitating software providers: This email scam requests the recipient download and installs a software update via a link in the e-mail. In fact, this link downloads a program designed to track the tax professional’s key strokes to steal login information, passwords and other sensitive information. (IR-2016-103)
  • “Verifying” tax return information over the phone:Another trick used by criminals is to call and state that they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to further process it. The information needed for verification? You guessed it. Personal information such as a Social Security Number or other personal financial information such as bank or credit card account numbers. ((IR-2016-40)
  • Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry: This scam involves emails which are intended to appear as official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. As usual, these emails seek personal information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information. (IR-2016-28)

Extreme vigilance against criminals trying to steal your personal information is important at any time but especially during tax filing season. It is wise for both individual and business taxpayers to consult with a tax professional to help assess their tax situation and maximize savings. If you have any question about taxes, call THE TAX EXPERTS at the Thorgood Law Firm www.thorgoodlaw.com. For a FREE consultation call 212-490-0704.Beware Of These Recent Tax Scams

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