Top Scams of 2017 Revealed by the IRS
Every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases its “Dirty Dozen” list of the top tax scams to be aware of in the coming months. Consumers should take this list seriously, especially during tax season, when fraudsters are scheming to steal personal information. We highlight six scams from the list to watch out for in 2017.
- Identity Theft
This life-altering scheme continues to be a top concern of the IRS, as well as the everyday individual! We are especially vulnerable during tax season, when scam artists try to cash in on other people’s refund checks. If you file your own taxes, make sure to have up-to-date anti-virus protection software installed on your computer, never respond to suspicious emails or threatening phone calls seeking personal information and keep your Social Security Number secure.
- Preparer Fraud
One of the easiest ways that a fraudster can steal your personal information is by impersonating a legitimate tax professional. The danger in hiring a dishonest tax preparer is two-fold. Not only can the person obtain your sensitive information, but may also falsify your taxes – a federal offense in your name. So, do your research before selecting a preparer: ask to see a Preparer Tax Identification Number, professional qualifications and a work history.
- Phishing Emails
A phishing email is designed to steal personal data. Hackers are able to create emails that are almost identical to trusted organizations to trick consumers into clicking fake website links or downloading malware. However, there are signs you can watch out for to protect yourself. Do you recognize the organization? Is its name spelled correctly? Is the source demanding money out of the blue? These red flags indicate a scam attempt.
- Phone Scams
Scammers posing as IRS agents remains a serious concern for the federal organization. During tax season, consumers receive phone calls offering large refunds in exchange for a few personal details. This type of phone scam is still a concern during other times of the year, when fraudsters request a wire transfer of money or an iTunes gift card to settle a tax discrepancy. Yet, it’s important to know that the IRS will never call you and demand money!
- Fake Charities
One of the most disrespectful, yet common scams are faux non-profit organizations that set out to collect money for personal gain. When someone comes to your door asking for a charitable contribution, be cautious of a few factors:
- Does the name sound similar to another organization?
- Is the group asking for cash donations?
- Do you have to provide private information along with the money?
- Falsifying Income for Credits
Those who are dishonest on their taxes often misfile to maximize their refundable credits. Although a fraudster may think it’s easy to scam the system, the IRS will likely uncover your deceit. When tax evaders are caught, they often have to pay more money back to the IRS in penalties than they earned by being untruthful and can face criminal prosecution.
The six other scams identified by the IRS were:
- Inflated funds
- Padded tax deductions and credits
- Excessive business credit claims
- Offshore tax refunds
- Abusive tax refunds
- Frivolous tax arguments
At Ion Bank, we go the extra mile to protect our customers against fraud. To learn more about becoming a customer, contact us today!
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