Scammers Are Posing as IRS Agents to Take Your Money
With all the ways scammers try to rip you off online, it only makes sense that they perpetrate fake Internet tax scams as well.
If you’re familiar with all the ways online scammers plot to take your money, you won’t be too surprised that they also venture into tax scams. While many tax scams aren’t sophisticated, some are often believable and convincing. It’s important to make sure that you never fall victim to a tax scam. Learn how to spot certain tax scams and protect yourself with these four examples of common online tax scams.
In a phishing email scam, the scammer will pretend to be an IRS agent. In this type of scam, the scammers usually want to retrieve your personal information, particularly your Social Security number, to steal your money.
To spot this scam, look for unexpected bills or refunds. The IRS will not email you randomly, either, so if you receive an email allegedly from the IRS, it’s better to not even open it. Best option: don’t give out your credit card number or social security number via email. Secure websites are the only safe way to share information safely online.
Fake Tax Preparers
Either using online or in-person methods, fake tax preparers prey on victims to steal their money or information. Once these fake “professionals” make a connection with a client, they then charge exorbitant fees for their services, as well as directing the victim’s tax refund into their own accounts. How do you stay away from this scam? Search for your tax preparer in the Federal Tax Return Preparer directory to see if he or she is credentialed to prepare taxes.
Offshore Financial Accounts
Some people really do have offshore accounts, but they likely don’t receive scam offers to open these bank accounts online. This scam is an email about an offshore account that lets you “hide” your money. Don’t ever go for this scam. Whether real or fraudulent, hiding money in offshore accounts will get you in trouble with the IRS. If you’re scammed, too, you might never see your money again.
Large Refund Promises
Scammers also lure victims into their schemes by promising larger refunds than they’re owed. Scammers that operate these false operations find their victims in several ways. When they tell you they can get you a larger refund, they then request for you to sign a blank tax return. Don’t do it. If someone says he or she can estimate your taxes instantly, you’re looking at a sure sign of a scam.