BBB serving Middle TN and Southern KY is reminding everyone to be on alert for tax scams.
“During tax season we see an uptick in scams,” said Robyn Householder, president & CEO of Better Business Bureau Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. “Scammers come up with creative ways to entice busy Americans to fall for their tricks. Prevalent scams during tax season include IRS Impersonation Scams, Tax Identity Theft Scams, Email Phishing Scams and Tax Preparer Scams.”
IRS Impersonation Scams usually start with a phone call where the scammer pretends to be an IRS Agent and tells the person they owe back taxes. The scammer will threaten them with arrest fines if they do not pay with a debit card or wire transfer.
Tax Identify Theft Scams happen when a scammer uses a person’s social security number to file a tax return in the person’s name and collect their refund. Through a phony tax preparation service, or data breach, individuals are tricked into clicking on a link that downloads malware to their device. The individual will not know they were scammed until receiving a letter from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed.
Email Phishing scams are also common. An individual will receive emails that look like they are from the IRS and will click on the link to a fake website that looks identical to the official IRS website. Scammers hope you will complete the form on that fake website or call the fake number on the email.
Shady Tax Preparers is another scam to be aware of during tax season. Con artists set up shop around tax time, often in vacant storefronts. These tax preparers promise fast and large returns but are only interested in using your personal information to get your tax money. In general, ghost preparers do not sign tax returns they prepare and when e-filing, the ghost tax preparer will refuse to sign as the paid preparer digitally.
To avoid tax scams, BBB is encouraging individuals to do four things. First, file as early as possible. Second, check a new tax preparer on BBB.org before doing business with them. Third, make sure to access the actual IRS website at IRS.gov. Finally, contact the IRS immediately if you receive a written notice from the IRS about a duplicate tax return.
Visit BBB.org, before doing business with a company. Always report suspected fraud to the BBB by filing a complaint using BBB.org/Scamtracker. Also, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at reportfraud.ftc.gov