People have lost their personal information and millions of dollars to tax scams. Protect yourself by avoiding these 3 common scams during tax season.
It’s getting closer to tax season, so you may be worrying about the past year’s expenses.
However, there is something else you should keep your mind on… scams that are specifically cropping up around tax season.
Since people are usually worried about how much they owe or getting their taxes in on time, some scammers will try to take advantage of their anxiety.
Understanding some of the more common tax season scams can help protect you and your family.
What to Watch out for This Tax Season
In general, don’t ever give out your social security number or any other personal information over the phone or in person.
Only ever include sensitive information like that on official tax documents that you submit to the IRS.
The most common way scammers target taxpayers during tax season is through false emails.
Usually, they will ask for specific documents, like your paystubs or W2 form, to process your tax return. Financegab.com covers some of the key ways that you can spot these scams.
As a good rule of thumb, however, never send any tax documents or personal information through an email, no matter how official it looks!
Sometimes, scammers will copy an IRS email address almost exactly, but then switch out specific letters (for example, a lowercase l instead of an uppercase i) or take other steps to appear legitimate.
Scammers who call Americans on the phone scammed $9.5 billion dollars out of taxpayers in 2017. While that figure is for the entire year, tax season represents a huge opportunity for scammers to target people and pose as IRS agents.
Just know that the IRS will never call you on their own. Anyone who calls and says that you owe the government money is just trying to get that money for themselves.
You should never answer a phone call from an unknown number and you should hang up in the event that the person on the other end starts asking for your financial information.
Another common scam that crops up around April is the refund scam.
In this case, emails disguised as IRS emails, or phone calls from scammers, will say that a large refund is waiting for you. All you have to do is enter your banking information and social security number to access it.
Of course, once you do, your actual refund may be stolen and money may be transferred out of your bank account.
Scams are Always Changing
While the three scams mentioned above are some of the more common ones that appear every tax season, it’s important to stay vigilant. Scammers are always developing their methods to be more effective and trying new things is bound to fool a few people.
Filing your taxes through online software or an accountant is usually your best bet.
Never change things up from the way you’ve done your taxes in previous years and always keep your personal information to yourself.
For more information about personal finance and tax season, feel free to browse through our money section and see how you can be more fiscally responsible in the future.