The IRS has released its annual list of tax scams to be on the lookout for this filing season.
“Taxpayers should be careful and avoid falling into a tax scam trap,” IRS spokesman Mark Green said. “Scam artists will tempt people in-person, on-line, using text messages and by e-mail with misleading promises about lost refunds, tax credits and free money. Don’t be fooled by these scams.”
Here are several from the list:
1. Identity theft: The IRS says it is seeing more thieves looking to use a legitimate taxpayer’s identity and personal information to file a return and claim a bogus refund.
2. Phishing: The IRS says it doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers via email to request personal or financial information, including text messages or social media channels.
3. Return preparer fraud: Some 60 percent of taxpayers use a tax pro, and most are honest. But some are not. Watch for a preparer who does not sign the return or put a preparer tax ID number on it; who does not give you a copy of your return,; or who charges a percentage of the refund amount as a prep fee.
4. “Free money” from the IRS: Flyers suggest taxpayers can file a return with little or no documentation. This scam particularly preys on the elderly and low income individuals. Scammers, for a fee, promise money that won’t be coming.