Avoiding This Year’s Tax Scams

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(KTVI) - Each year, the IRS releases a list of its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams to alert taxpayers of the most common scams they may encounter. While they can occur at any time during the year, they peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.  Sandy Furuya, Senior Accounting Manager with Wamhoff Financial Planning & Accounting, outlines the top two scams:

1. Identify Theft

  • Tops this year’s Dirty Dozen list
  • Identity theft can mean that someone is using your identity to commit fraud or other crimes; or, it could involve the use of your identity to file a tax return and claim a refund.
  • Combating ID theft has become a top priority for the IRS. For the 2013 tax season, they have implemented a number of additional steps to prevent identity theft, and detect refund fraud before it occurs.

 2.  What to do if you fear your identity may be compromised

 3.  Phishing

  • Phishing is typically carried out via unsolicited email, or a fake website posing as a legitimate site.
  • The goal of phishing is to get potential victims to provide personal and financial information.
  • Once the information is provided, the criminal now has the taxpayer’s identity and can commit any number of fraudulent acts while posing as that taxpayer.
  • It’s been reporting that phishing scams cost hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

4.  What to do if you are unsure of an email you’re received, or believe you’ve been a victim of phishing

  • Avoid being a victim. The IRS does NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
  • No government agencies, including EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System) will request information via email.
  • Do not respond to emails, text messages, or social media messages from the IRS.
  • If you do receive a phishing email, report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.
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