Beware of ID Theft and Fraud this Tax Season

ID Theft and Tax Scam

Protect yourself from ID theft and tax scams

In the modern world today, ID theft and tax scams can be disguised in many different forms, including post mails, phone calls and text messages, emails and even social media outlets.

This means each and every one of us needs to be aware of such scams and stay alert to protect ourselves. Scam artists do not spare anyone. They actually target vulnerable groups, such as senior citizens or those who have little experience with computer security or the tax filing process. Below are some of the common scams to watch out for:

ID theft through emails:

There are scammers who send emails pretending to be the IRS. The emails will demand a payment from you or your information. Things they may ask for, perhaps with a promise of a tax refund, include your full name, social security number, banking details, and other personal information. With these, a scam artist can have direct access to your bank account, issue a fake check under your name, or even filing a fake tax return to steal your refund.

How to avoid email scam: Note that the IRS will never ask for your personal or financial identity information via email, text messages or social media. You can also report phishing scam to this email address: phishing@irs.gov. Another thing to note is that scam artists can steal your information by sending a spyware through email attachments and links, without getting any explicit answer from you. Therefore, if you don’t know or don’t trust the sender, do not click on any link or open any attachment to avoid ID theft.

Impersonating the IRS over phone calls

ID theft can also take the forms of phone calls, claiming to be from the IRS. There are reports from people who received threatening calls, demanding them to make immediate payment to avoid legal consequences. The calls are made from different area codes and to people in every state. If you enter the phone numbers from which these calls are made into a simple Google search, many of them will return previous fraud complaints.

This scam has successfully taken at least $14 million from taxpayers, said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general of the Tax Administration. This figure is only partial, as it comes from victims who reported the scam. There are others who did not report the incidents, which means the actual number can be much higher.

All taxpayers should know that the IRS will usually send notice by mail first about unpaid taxes before calling. During the phone call, the IRS will not demand payment with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. You should not have to give away your credit card number over the phone either.

How to avoid this scam: If you receive a phone call about unpaid tax, and if you believe that you do owe taxes, you can hang up and call the correct IRS number at 800-829-1040. This way you can be sure that your payments go to the right hands and avoid becoming an ID theft victim.

If you are sure that you do not owe any tax, you can report the scam by filling out the “IRS Impersonation Scam” form or by calling this number 800-366-4484.

If you believe you are a victim of an identity theft or a tax scam, be sure to take appropriate action to limit the damage. The legal experts at LegalShield can help guide you along the legal process to protect your identity. Contact us today to get started.

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