Protecting Yourself Against Tax Scams

Don’t be fooled by con artists posing as IRS Agents. They will often initiate contact through a telephone call, claiming that you owe tax penalties or claim back taxes. They will instill fear by demanding immediate payment or threaten with arrest, suspension of driver’s license or (if an immigrant) deportation. Sound Familiar? Has this happened to you or someone you know?

Though sounding very convincing, these calls are scams!

Another scam involves Identity Theft. Once they obtain your social security number, they file false returns (under their victims’ names) to receive refunds. When the victim then tries to file a legitimate return, it can be rejected by the IRS.

Other current tax scams are commonly pitched as opportunities to get a larger refund. They can involve encouraging an individual to falsify income, falsely claim fuel tax credits, use tax shelters that sound too good to be true and hiding income offshore. Some criminals will also pose as a tax preparer just to get your information and engage in Identity theft. It is so important to validate and check into who is helping with your taxes.

Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself:
• File as quickly as is reasonably possible
• Guard your Identity- Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse, install antivirus and firewall software on your computer(s). Varying your passwords is smart. If you need password management help, try Lastpass or Dashlane.
• Never click on a link in an email to visit the IRS or bank. Instead, go directly to the secured and known URL
• Regularly check your credit reports to see that the information is accurate. Try Annualcreditreport.com
• If a tax proposal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
• Do not trust a tax preparer that does not give you your returns to review. You should file your own returns, if possible.
• The IRS will NEVER call to demand immediate payment or about taxes being owed without previously having mailed a bill. The agency will also give you the opportunity to question or appeal any outstanding balance or penalty.

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, act immediately!
• Call your banks, brokerage firms, credit card companies, major credit bureaus and in the specific case of tax fraud- call the IRS.
• If your social security number is compromised, fill out IRS form 14039 and continue to file your taxes as you normally would.

Just Call Jack for any taxes questions, help or advice as you get ready to file taxes for the 2016 year. No situation is too big or too small for us to handle! Call today at 502-327-8009 for your tax needs.

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