It’s tax filing season and criminals are in full force trying to implement fraudulent schemes and take advantage of the multitudes of personal data and information floating around the internet, mail, and phone lines. Taxpayers should be aware of the following tips to ensure that they do not become the victims of these various internet and telemarketing scams, since the financial ramifications may be devastating.
Taxpayers should remember that the IRS will NEVER:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a notice of an amount due.
Of course, none of us “prefer” to pay taxes. Once we do pay our taxes, if we expect a refund, we hardly exhibit any patience awaiting it in the mail. But the IRS is a mega-bureaucracy, which means that things get lost, overlooked, mishandled, and, well I shudder to think. Thus, delays are not altogether uncommon, and failures to process and mail returns actually occur, albeit infrequently. So what do you do if you haven’t received your tax refund?
In August, in anticipation of the new school year, the IRS warned taxpayers about scam phone calls directed at parents and students demanding payments for fake, non-existent taxes.
These scam artists call students and demand that they make immediate payment arrangements such as wiring money to satisfy a fake tax bill.
These callers often refer to a “federal student tax,” which, of course, doesn’t exist. When those targeted resist in any way, the caller then threatens to report the individual to the police, even stating that the consequence of immediate noncompliance is arrest. These types of cons are becoming more common each school year just around the time school begins in the late summer as scammers look for prime opportunities to target their victims.
Recently the IRS together with state tax agencies and the nation’s tax preparers warned that criminals are focusing their cyber theft crimes on tax professionals. Anyone that is a potential target of these cybercriminals should respond appropriately to protect clients from identity theft.
With this issuance of caution, the IRS provided new information containing safeguards to help tax professionals protect clients’ data. Known as the Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself campaign, it’s an expansion of the Security Summit’s 2015 Taxes. Security. Together program aimed at increasing public awareness for using security software, creating stronger passwords and avoiding phishing emails.
1) Protect and monitor your credit. Regularly check your credit report to see if any fraudulent credit cards or accounts have been opened in your name. Monitor your credit by taking advantage of free credit reports and consider purchasing additional intermittent reports for continuous oversight of your credit. If and when necessary, place fraud alerts and credit freezes on your account.
A victim of identity theft or a person authorized to obtain the identity theft victim’s tax information may request a redacted copy (one with some information blacked-out) of a fraudulent return that was filed and accepted by the IRS using the identity theft victim’s name and Social Security Number.
Due to federal privacy laws, the victim’s name and SSN must be listed as either the primary or secondary taxpayer on the fraudulent return or otherwise the IRS cannot disclose the return information. For this same reason, the IRS cannot disclose information about any tax return to any person listed only as a dependent. Partial or full redaction will protect additional possible victims on the return. However, there will be enough data provided for the taxpayer to determine how his or her personal information was fraudulently used.
The Internal Revenue Service, probably the most-hated government agency in America, just became more powerful, and probably more ominous. As everyone knows, IRS is the only agency that can, without going to Court, seize your asses and empty your bank accounts – one of the reasons they earned the title of being the most feared agency. Now, the IRS has been empowered to seize American passports of delinquent taxpayers, maybe even preventing those taxpayers from domestic flights.