Beware of These Tax Scams
Taxpayers should always be wary of tax scams, which have proliferated in recent years. Taking precautionary measures, however, is especially important during the summertime, when tax scams surge across the country. Many of these scams involve emails and text messages that promise tax refunds or offers to help with tax issues, but that actually aim to steal taxpayer identities.
Economic Impact Payment Scams
Of the many types of tax scams on the rise in the U.S., email scams have become one of the most common. Recently, email schemes have centered around a third round of Economic Impact Payments, where senders direct victims to phishing websites (via embedded URL links) that steal sensitive taxpayer information. While these messages claim to be from the IRS, they are often riddled with spelling errors and factual inaccuracies, telltale signs of a scam.
Employee Retention Credit Scams
The IRS also reports a significant increase in false Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims. These scams attempt to lure taxpayers into improperly claiming the ERC online, through unsolicited phone calls, or even via fraudulent mailings. Taxpayers who receive these communications should be sure to look for certain warning signs, like promises to quickly determine eligibility without providing additional details and companies that charge fees. To avoid collecting a tax benefit for which a taxpayer doesn’t qualify, employers should be sure to work with a trusted tax professional.
Tax Refund Scams
Other email scams urge taxpayers to claim their refunds online, urging recipients to click on links to complete an “application”, but rerouting to websites that steal personal information. Again, misspellings and directions to click on links to “claim tax refund” are indicative of a tax scam.
Help You Fix-it Text Scams
Not all tax scams take the form of emails. For instance, in recent weeks, a text scam has arisen, wherein identity thieves send a text message from an official-sounding source. These text messages claim that there is a problem with a taxpayer’s return, but that, by clicking on the link, the taxpayer can fix those problems immediately. These links, however, can secretly load malware or ransomware that keeps users from accessing their own systems.
Delivery Service Scams
The IRS has also recently warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for a scam mailing that attempts to mislead taxpayers into believing that they are owed a refund. These messages typically arrive in a cardboard envelope from a legitimate delivery service. The letter often includes the IRS masthead and claims to be in relation to unclaimed refunds. This scam is particularly convincing because the IRS, while it never initiates contact with taxpayers via email, text, or social media about a bill or refund, does send messages in the mail. Legitimate messages will not, however, request information in exchange for an expedited refund.
Call Today for Tax Advice
To learn more about the steps you can take to avoid becoming the victim of a tax scam this summer, please call CPA, former FBI Special Agent, and experienced Florida tax & IRS attorney Ronald Cutler, P.A. today. You can set up a free one-on-one consultation by calling 386-490-9949 or by completing one of our online contact forms.