Scammers Cash in on Tax Returns During Tax Season

Tax season is a prime time for phone scams. Fraudsters disguise themselves as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax preparation agencies to swindle you out of your money.

Scammers will send emails or call you claiming to represent the IRS to say you owe taxes. They are aggressive and use threats if you don’t pay them immediately. Callers may tell you your Social Security Number has been suspended and inform you that you need to confirm your number to reactivate it, or you may get a prerecorded message demanding a callback. Emails often invite you to click a fake link for information about your tax return or refund, sending you to a fake website that captures your personal information.

Tax preparation scammers promise a big tax refund by exaggerating deductions or credits and falsifying your income to increase your tax refund. In return, they require a percentage of your so-called gains. Once the IRS catches on, you are left to pay the consequences.

What you need to know

The IRS will never contact you via email, text, or social media. It’s also important to know that the IRS will never threaten to bring in law enforcement to have the taxpayer arrested for non-payment. If you owe taxes, the IRS will mail a notice via the U.S. Postal Service with payment due to the U.S. Treasury. They won’t ask for credit card information or demand that you pay with gift cards or a wire transfer.

Ways to protect yourself

Teresa Chandler
Teresa Chandler
Teresa Chandler is a Senior Special Investigations Unit Investigator with ICW Group. She served in the U.S. Navy as a Gunner's Mate for over ten years, with two deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom. She obtained her BS degree in Criminal Justice Administration and was a claims adjuster for over three years before coming to ICW Group in 2017. She is a native San Diegan, the oldest of six siblings (two Marine brothers), a world traveler, a cat mom, and an occasional dog foster mom. She also loves hiking and event planning.

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