Stay Alert: Tax Season Fraud

Category: Blog

Last year, fraud rose to unprecedented levels. IRS estimates indicate a 400% increase in phishing and malware incidents during the 2016 tax season. In his an article for CPA Wealth Enterprise, compliance specialist Shawn Baxter cautions taxpayers to stay vigilant. Criminals are finding more and more ways to sidestep the safeguards put in place. Here are some fraud attacks to stay alert for:

  • IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams
  • Malware Schemes
  • Email Phishing Scam: “Update your IRS e-file”
  • Tax Refund Scam Artists Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

The IRS does not do the following; if you experience any of these, you could be a target of fraud:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

“If you do not owe taxes and receive a call from someone who says he or she is from the IRS, requesting money or verification of your identity, hang up without providing any information,” writes Baxter. “You should report this information to TIGTA on the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting page and to the Federal Trade Commission by using the online FTC Complaint Assistant.”

Speak with your CPA about any direct concerns you have regarding correspondence you have received. You can read more at the IRS tax fraud resource page.

You can read more in Shawn Baxter’s full article, “Beware of Tax Season Scams.”

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