Every year, the IRS publishes its “Dirty Dozen,” a list of common tax scams and tax evasion schemes. This list raises awareness among tax filers and professionals, especially during tax prep season when fraudulent activity is most common. Anyone can fall victim to these types of fraud, and lose their money through emails, phone calls, or social media ads.
“The IRS reminds taxpayers to watch out for and avoid advertised schemes, many of which are now promoted online, that promise tax savings that are too good to be true and will likely cause taxpayers to legally compromise themselves,” says IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
We provide free tax preparation NYC services to help you keep your hard-earned money in your pocket. The last thing we want is for you to risk losing money to these scams! We strongly encourage you to review the full Dirty Dozen list, and share it with family, friends, and neighbors who may be more susceptible to falling for them (such as the elderly or young adults).
Here are just a few to keep an eye out for:
- Economic Impact Payment and Tax Refund Scams: Also known as stimulus checks, Economic Impact Payment scams are still a very common threat. Look out for emails, texts, or messages on social media requesting you to submit your personal information for tax purposes. Once scammers have access to your data, they can file fraudulent unemployment claims or steal your tax refunds.
- Fake Employment Offers Posted on Social Media: Scammers are attempting to take advantage of the unemployed, as well as people who are seeking new work. Reports of fake job postings have been on the rise, luring victims to apply and share their personal financial information. In doing so, scammers get the information they need to file fraudulent tax returns or refunds or access your personal accounts.
- Suspicious Communication: In general, it is always a good idea to lead with caution when it comes to online communication about your taxes. Generally, the IRS will contact you via mail for debts or other tax-related situations. Steer clear from text messages, phishing emails, and phone calls related to COVID-19, stimulus checks, or tax refunds, especially if they are asking for your personal financial information.
It is important to note that the IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without allowing the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
The Dirty Dozen list is not intended to instill fear, but rather raise awareness of potential risks caused by tax criminals. Even today, scammers are still leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment to steal people’s money. We strongly recommend that you read the full “Dirty Dozen” list and share it with friends and family.
Remember that we’re here to help! Our team of IRS-certified tax preparers are here to help you get the refund you deserve, and our free tax prep NYC services are available both in-person and online. We also offer free financial counseling NYC, to help both individuals and small business owners build more prosperous lives, supporting their first steps toward long-term wealth building.