The IRS recently issued its annual list of the Dirty Dozen tax scams to watch out for throughout the year. Here are three top scam themes to come out of the list, plus ways to protect yourself from them:
1. Phishing: With phishing, a criminal uses the bait of an email or fake website to lure victims into providing personal information. For instance, the sender may pretend to be from the IRS.
In a recent twist, criminals are directing refunds to their victims' bank accounts, and then using lies, threats and intimidation to convince the victims to hand over the money using various methods to collect the refunds.
To combat phishing:
Typically, the caller demands that you pay a bogus tax bill in cash, usually through a wire transfer or a prepaid debit or gift card. They may also leave urgent callback requests via robo-calls or phishing emails. The IRS advises the following:
The IRS says it will continue to pursue tax returns that use someone else's Social Security information. But taxpayers can help themselves. Here's how:
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