If you’re going to protect your finances for the long haul, it’s crucial that you learn how to avoid scams to the best of your ability. In this regard, people impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) remains one of the biggest scams around.
People perpetrate these scams during tax time and year-round. It’s important that you stay aware of some of the most popular scams so that you can protect yourself accordingly.
Consider these tips so that you’re able to avoid some common tax scams.
1. The IRS Asking For Your Social Security Number
Trying to get your social security number is definitely on the top of the list of things to avoid when it comes to tax scammers.
Your social security number is a scammer’s prized target when they are trying to steal your information. It allows them to steal your identity and file your taxes for you so that they can pocket your return.
They can also take out credit cards in your name and seek lending, so always be vigilant about protecting this number — even if someone claims they are an IRS agent. The IRS doesn’t ask for this sort of information over the phone, and you should never give it out.
2. Being Told That You Have a Warrant Out For Your Arrest
There are a number of phone scams that you need to be on the lookout for when it comes to taxes.
One of the most common scams involves a so-called IRS agent calling you and telling you that you have a warrant out for your arrest. This generally happens in the form of a robocall or voicemail telling you to get in touch with them right away to prevent further legal action.
After doing so, you will be directed to a phone number where you can send the payment amount that they are requesting.
Never lose sight of the fact that the IRS does official correspondence by certified mail, and would definitely never call to request payment over the phone. Further, if a warrant was out for your arrest, you would be notified by the court system — not the IRS.
3. Accepting a Settlement to Avoid Legal Action
When you owe some back taxes, scammers might take advantage of this and offer you a supposedly reasonable settlement.
The only problem is that these scammers aren’t connected to the IRS at all. So while you are more than happy to pay a lower amount to make your tax debt problems go away, the problems don’t go anywhere, and you ended up paying money to a scammer that has nothing to do with the debt.
If you are ever in doubt about whether or not an IRS agent is legitimate or not, make sure that you reach out to a tax attorney and business lawyer to give you the help that you need.
4. Being Contacted Via E-Mail or Social Media
Again, the IRS handles official business via certified mail. They won’t call you to demand money — and definitely won’t do it over e-mail or social media.
There are a lot of scammers that perpetrate phishing schemes in order to get money out of people. If anyone contacts you via e-mail or social media claiming to be an IRS agent, block and report them immediately.
5. Getting Hit With Text Message Scams
It’s common to wake up to text messages offering you a settlement for your tax debt. You need to be wary of any of these texts — particularly if you know that you’ve never signed up for any alerts from the IRS.
The IRS would never collect money via text message or offer correspondence in this way. Further, anytime they collect money digitally, it is through third-party collection agencies that are listed on the IRS.gov website.
6. Being Charged Outrageous Tax Preparation Fees
Another common scam takes place when a tax preparer charges you incredibly expensive fees.
There are a number of ghost preparers that pop up posing as credible tax preparers but then are nowhere to be found. If you want to avoid getting hit with either one of these scams, make sure that you only allow licensed and certified tax preparers to handle this work on your behalf.
This way you’ll keep money in your pocket and will know that the tax prep is legitimate and credible.
7. IRS Impersonating Ransomware
Right now, ransomware is one of the most common forms of malware. It only makes sense that you would also see hackers using this ransomware for tax scams as well.
If you happen to notice a ransomware attack, get the help of some professionals at once, and definitely make sure that you don’t pay the fees they are asking for.
Some of this information takes place in the form of an attack whenever you are using Wi-Fi in a public place, such as a coffee shop or restaurant. Always be careful about the networks that you are logging into, and never give out your personal information.
Learn How to Avoid Scams
Now that you have some tips on how to avoid scams, take the time to protect yourself. Considering these points will help you to know which scams and schemes are the most common so that you are able to avoid them at all costs.
Doing this will save you lots of time and heartache.
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