Taxpayer Beware – It’s The Height Of Tax Scam Season

Tax season and scams go together like peanut butter and jelly (or whatever your favorite food combo happens to be)! It’s that delicious time of year that criminal scammers love. So, as we approach the tax filing deadline on April 18th, it’s important to be diligent in recognizing attempts made to scam you out of important personal information and/or money. Tax scams are so prevalent that the IRS issues warnings throughout the year and especially during this time of the tax season. Also, the scammers are always upping their game, using more and more sophisticated methods, and changing tactics to keep the unsuspecting taxpayer off guard. The most recent IRS alert came out on April 5th.

Specific Groups Are Targeted

Scammers are fond of targeting specific groups of people who are typically more vulnerable to fear tactics. One group they target is recent immigrants. The scammers pose as IRS employees, telling them they owe the IRS money and threatening them with deportation if they don’t pay. Another targeted group: those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The criminals use sophisticated video relay services to reach this group.

Scammers will resort to just about anything to get social security numbers, addresses, dependents’ personal information, addresses, bank account information. They sell this on the dark web and use it to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds as well as use it for social engineering attacks that could lead to account takeovers and ransomware. So, please be aware and do not respond to aggressive tactics. The IRS does not threaten taxpayers. They do not demand payment with a gift card. Nor do they demand immediate payment of tax debts.

Beware The OIC Mill Scam

Another scam that is big this year is the OIC scam. OIC stands for Offer In Compromise which the IRS does offer to certain taxpayers who owe large back tax debts under very specific and rigorous conditions. Very few people qualify for an OIC, and most who do get approved work with a qualified and experienced tax attorney. According to one source, “These scammers warn of a limited window of opportunity to resolve any tax debts through an Offer in Compromise (OIC) program. Promising the taxpayer that such debts can be settled for pennies on the dollar, the scammer naturally collects any money without delivering anything in return.)
The IRS NEVER contacts taxpayers offering this program. As a tax resolution attorney, I work very closely with my clients and the IRS to get this kind of settlement. As I mentioned earlier, it is not easy to get and very few people qualify. So beware of anyone who claims they can do this for you.

Current Tips For Recognizing And Avoiding Tax Scams

As scammers get better and more sophisticated at what they do, we taxpayers have to become more diligent and try to stay out of their reach or at least learn how to recognize and avoid them. Some experts recommend the following:

  • Develop better cybersecurity hygiene by learning how to detect email scams.
  • Use a good email spam filter to help ensure that email scams don’t end up in your inbox.
  • If a suspicious email gets through, go to the actual website of the organization referenced in the message and call the customer support number. Don’t call any phone numbers listed in the email, as they’re likely to lead you to the scammers.
  • Check the email sender address and not the display name.
  • Check the email for spelling mistakes.
  • Check any hyperlink addresses by hovering over them to see where they go, but don’t click on the links themselves.

If You Need Help Addressing Tax Issues Call Us

One of the best ways to avoid tax scams is to work with a reputable, experienced tax attorney. If you have back tax issues or haven’t filed your taxes in a few years, give us a call. We’ll get you on the right side of your tax issues and you can rest assured that even if tax scammers target you, you have nothing to fear because your taxes are in good hands.

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