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The Latest Tax Season Scams to Beware Of

Tax refund scams are quickly becoming one of the most common ways thieves steal your money and even your identity. Criminals prey on the stress surrounding tax season to steal sensitive information and file fraudulent tax returns. Rule #1 - always confirm information independently and never click on links or attachments in your email without first confirming the origin - Few of us are tax experts, so here’s how to spot a tax related scam.

Email Scams

Scammers will send you an email pretending to be from the IRS.

  • ‘Tax Refund Payment’ or ‘Recalculation of your tax refund payment’ in the subject line. It will then ask you to fill out a form giving away your private personal information.
  • 'Click here to see some details about your tax refund' or 'Click on this to see your tax transcript'. Once these links are clicked the user is exposed to malware.
  • Requesting a Form W-8BEN be completed, but it is actually fake and has been modified to extract your personal information.
  • Your refund has been recalculated and you're owed extra money. You then use a link to confirm personal or financial information, which is then stolen.
  • Claims that you owe the federal student tax - There is no federal student tax.

Don’t trust emails that claim to come from the IRS, even if they display the IRS logo or have an ‘.edu’ email address. If the IRS needs to contact you, they’ll do so first with a letter.

Phone Scams

  • Bots and robocallers call claiming you owe taxes and demand payment immediately, even threatening arrest.
    • They can pretend to be from the official IRS phone number, so don’t trust caller ID. The caller may give you a fake badge number, or even know your SSN, which can be stolen.
    • If you get a call from someone saying they’re with the IRS, ask for a reference number. Then, hang up and call back using one of the official IRS phone numbers.
  • ‘The Bureau of Tax Enforcement’ threateningscam call a Lien or Levy on Your Assets and to pay up. - There is no Bureau of Tax Enforcement so hang up immediately.
  • Claims that your social security number has been or will be suspended due to a tax related issue. - Your Social Security number can't be suspended, canceled, frozen, or revoked.

A Tax Return Was Filed Under Your Name

When you go to file your taxes, you would get an alert from the IRS that someone else has already filed as you. While you're still legally eligible for your refund, the process to confirm your identity is complicated, and the thief already has your personal information.

You should set up an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) which serves as a password to verify your real identity and prevent an impostor from filing in your name. You can set one up at the official IRS IP PIN page.

It’s important to be aware of the latest tax scams and how to protect yourself from falling victim. For more information on how to spot an IRS imposter and the steps to take if you are a victim of tax fraud click here.

Sources and enhanced by Credit Union of Denver

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