April 1, 2022Tax Scams You Need To Know About
Each year, the IRS releases a list of tax scams that most affect people at the time.. With fraudsters becoming more proficient in their targeting methods, the number of scams seems to steadily increase with every annual list, . Now, there is more for taxpayers to be mindful of with COVID-19 and economic impact payments setting the stage for tax scams.
As your credit union, our goal is to prepare you for these potential scams so you can wisely avoid them. Here is a list of the most popular tax scams with advice on how not to fall for them.
Tax-Related Phishing Schemes
These schemes are what they sound like—fishing expeditions. Your private information, personal information, and financial information serve as the coveted “prize catches”. Scammers use these schemes to attempt to connect with you through email, text messages, and even social media.
What to know about these schemes is, firstly, the IRS will NEVER contact you through these mediums. Instead, if you owe Uncle Sam, he will only contact you through mail. Secondly, the IRS does not accept payment in the form of gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers.
Safety When Filing Electronically
Another growing problem involves fraudsters trying to steal your tax refunds by filing in your name.
You can help prevent this by making sure your computer, tablet, or mobile phone has the latest security updates available, including protection against viruses, malware, and ransomware, before uploading your tax information. Also, don’t access the internet via public networks when transmitting private information, but always make sure you’re on a secured network. Finally, file your taxes early so that no one else will have the opportunity to file in your name.
Threatening Callers Pretending to Be From the IRS
These callers often demand immediate payment from frightened taxpayers for some bogus tax bill, threatening fines or jail time for failure to pay . In some instances, these are “robocalls” with instructions on how to return the call or submit payments.
Contact the IRS if you receive these types of threats or if you have concerns about owing them money. The key is to never send money in these situations, as it is most likely a scam. The IRS doesn’t typically make demands for immediate payment from taxpayers or threaten them over the phone. Again, the IRS will only contact you with tax-related issues through the mail .
The IRS always updates its website with information about the latest scams going around the World Wide Web, with recommendations for protecting yourself. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is another excellent resource for information about protecting your identity and improving your online security.
If you have been a victim of identity theft or tax-related fraud of any kind, you can find the steps you need to take on the FTC website .
We’re Here to Help!
If you feel you may have been a victim of identity theft or have questions about a possible scam, please contact us at your earliest convenience. You may stop by any of our convenient branch locations or call us at 1-800-226-6673.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique, and readers are encouraged to contact PEFCU when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. If such advice or a legal opinion is required, please consult with competent local counsel.