Dirty Dozen Tax Scams in 2015 (Part One)

internet scam photoEvery year, the IRS releases its Dirty Dozen, a list of 12 tax scams that crooks and criminals use to target U.S. taxpayers. Whether stealing money or stealing identities, these scammers are wreaking havoc on people. Falling victim to a scam can cost a person thousands and thousands of dollars. By staying aware of all of the different scams, you can better protect yourself, your identity, and your wallet. Be sure to follow along our next series of blogs as we delve deep into the IRS-released Dirty Dozen tax scams of 2015.

If you have a question about anything and are suspicious of a tax-related event, be sure to contact your tax preparer or the IRS before moving ahead with anything. Don’t be a victim.

Phone scams: The scammers are getting more and more aggressive these days, calling people and threatening arrest, deportation, and other awful things if the person doesn’t follow instructions. Scammers like to pose as IRS agents over the phone, luring you with tales of surprise refunds or taxes due in order to get your valuable information. If suspicious, hang up and call the IRS directly or seek advice from your tax preparer. Don’t give personal information over the phone, Internet, or snail mail if you weren’t the one who initiated the contact.

Abusive Tax Shelters: The IRS says, “Taxpayers should avoid using abusive tax structures to avoid paying taxes. The IRS is committed to stopping complex tax avoidance schemes and the people who create and sell them. The vast majority of taxpayers pay their fair share, and everyone should be on the lookout for people peddling tax shelters that sound too good to be true. When in doubt, taxpayers should seek an independent opinion regarding complex products they are offered.”

Phishing: One of the biggest alerts of a tax time scam are emails. The IRS will never be the one to initiate contact about official tax business by email. No requests for personal information, no requests for financial information—none of it. This goes the same for text messages and social media messages. If you receive something like this, it’s probably a scam. If you do receive an email from a fake IRS contact, DO NOT click on any links and DO NOT download any attachments. This is called phishing and thieves are ‘fishing’ for your information. Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov so it can be reported and taken care of.

Photo by Don Hankins

Photo by Don Hankins

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