In October 2013, South Florida law enforcement officials pinpointed and charged more than 40 individuals accountable for 20,000 stolen identities. It was estimated that the personal and financial information snatched by the perpetrators amassed to more than $11 million in fraudulent refunds from the IRS, and this successful investigation prevented more than $40 million in further losses.
Identity theft, tax scams, and tax refund fraud are serious growing problems in the United States, and considered a prime concern of IRS agents. If you have received an email offering you a tax refund, informing you of a possible tax audit, or offering to eliminate your taxes altogether, then you may be a victim of an attempted tax scam. If you have questions about tax relief services contact a reputable tax resolution professional.
According to the IRS, it is crucial to use care during tax season and throughout the year. Below are some common tax scams discovered by the IRS.
Flyers for “Free Money”
Lately, endorsements for “free money” from the IRS have been appearing in community groups and churches throughout the United States. Quite often, scammers will claim that the taxpayer is capable of filing a tax return with no documentation, and they promise tax returns to low-income taxpayers and elderly citizens. Once the taxpayer has paid these people and they realize that their claims have been rejected, the scam artists have left without a trace.
A common type of tax fraud scheme that has been around for decades usually pops up following a natural disaster. Con-artists will pose as charities, and steal money and private information from sympathetic taxpayers. Scammers also reach out to disaster victims, claiming they are contacting them to help with filing casualty loss claims, yet end up stealing what little the victims have left, as well as their identities.
Tax Preparer Scams
More than half of all Americans hire tax professionals to complete their tax forms each year. Though most tax companies are ethical, some scammers do pose as tax preparers. If you plan to provide a professional with personal information, make sure you research the person or company. A Better Business Bureau rating is a great way to choose a genuine professional.
If someone uses your personal information without your consent, it is considered identity theft. A common way for a criminal to use your identity is to file a fraudulent tax return with your taxpayer identity, in hopes that they will receive the tax return check. Make sure to keep your personal information as confidential as possible to prevent identity theft in the future.
Phishing is usually an email scam, but can also be a counterfeit website which attempts to prompt taxpayers to provide personal and financial information. The IRS never establishes contact with taxpayers by asking for personal information via email, social networks, or text messages. If you have received a suspicious email which you believe is impersonating the IRS, report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you owe back taxes, are a victim of tax scams, or you are in need of professional tax relief services, contact US Tax Shield today.