Tax scams and phishing attempts have grown in popular each of the last few years. In response, the IRS releases a list each year of the twelve most popular tax scams and situations that taxpayers should watch out for.
As April 15th approaches, there's much to be thankful for. The winter is over or coming to a close, spring and warmth is near, and you're likely done with your taxes. However, there's one thing you should still be aware of: tax scams and potential tax fraud.
If you've never experienced a phishing attempt or phone scam, you may not realize how difficult they are to identify. People performing these scams often claim to be with a certain organization or business in hopes of gaining your trust and asking for your private information – your SSN, date of birth, address, etc. Once they have it, they use it maliciously, typically without your knowledge.
If you ever receive an e-mail or phone call that doesn't seem right, you're encouraged to hang up or close the message immediately and report it to authorities. E-mails can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org, and you should report phone scams or attempts to your local authorities. The IRS advises taxpayers to use the following precautions to avoid potential issues:
- Do not keep your SSN Card on you – keep it locked safely and securely somewhere only you and family members can access it.
- Share your SSN only when necessary, and with a creditable company that you have called.
- Protect your personal financial information in all forms, both electronically and physical documentation.
- Check your credit report annually.
- Check your Social Security Administration earnings statement annually.
Protect personal computers by using firewalls, anti-virus and malware services, update security patches, and regularly change your internet/website account passwords.
We talked about phishing and what tax return fraud is in a previous post, but as tax season comes to a close, tax-related scams increase due to people's fears of making a mistake on their taxes and the upcoming deadline.
We're committed to protecting and educating our community of potential tax fraud situations. We provide helpful, valuable tax and life help on The Daily Deduction throughout the year. If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get more articles like this posted directly to your timeline or newsfeed! You can also share this with your social network or friends by clicking on the share buttons above or below.