BBB: Time to protect against tax scams

People say that bad things happen in threes. Tax scams are no different. As W-2 tax forms land in mailboxes and forms are being completed, there are a few things to be aware of when it comes to tax season. Better Business Bureau wants to warn you of these scam tactics:

IRS impostor scams. The most common scam reported to the BBB Scam Tracker are scams that involve a phone call or other communication of someone pretending to be the IRS and claiming you owe taxes. Scammers will attempt to convince victims they will be arrested if they do not pay the fees over the phone. Scammers are sophisticated enough to obtain personal information adding credence to the threat. Payment will usually be asked to be paid by wiring money, pre-paid debit or gift cards or by credit card.

Tax relief scams. Tax returns are complicated. Many people seek professionals’ help to be confident their return is being filed correctly and to maximize deductions. Beware of deceptive advertising claiming to significantly reduce tax liability or to increase the amount for a return. Savvy scammers will use official-looking IRS notices and create credible-looking websites to sway victims into paying unnecessary money or divulging personal information.

Identity theft. W-2 income forms are arriving in mailboxes daily. This is an excellent time to make sure your mailbox is secure. Identity thieves know these forms contain information that allows them to use your identity for their gain by filing false tax returns, Medicaid benefits and labor and industry claims.

Protect your identity this tax season and take precaution. File tax returns from a secure computer and make sure anti-virus software is up-to-date. Never use public wi-fi or a link from an email to send tax return information. Mail tax returns from a post office or secure mailbox. Anyone who thinks they may be a victim of a scam should report it to local law enforcement and with BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.

 

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