Tax season is here and with it comes all of the tax scams from fraudsters who want to collect your refund. We’ve compiled a list of the most popular tax scams of 2020 so you will be able to recognize the signs of a scam:
Suspended/Canceled Social Security Number
A new social security scam is based around a robocall that claims your social security number is going to be suspended or cancelled because of owed taxes. The scam uses fear tactics to trick recipients into calling the number back and giving away personal information. However, your social security number will never be suspended and the IRS will only contact you through the mail or in person.
Another scam is fraudsters pretending to be the IRS by sending you and email or text message reminding you to file your taxes or claiming to have information about your refund. However, if you click the link in the message to file your taxes you will be brought to a spoofed site. A spoofed site is a site that is almost identical to the original site, but is run by scammers. The site will send scammers any information you in put making it easy for them to steal your identity. The message may also contain malware which would infect your computer and allow fraudsters to steal your data, such as passwords and PINs. The IRS will not send unsolicited emails or any other type of digital message such as a text or social media message.
Since the IRS typically only sends letters, fraudsters have begun to send out letters claiming to be from the Bureau of Tax Enforcement. However, the Bureau of Tax Enforcement does not actually exist. Official IRS letters will also have a notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number on the top or bottom right hand corner of the letter. You can verify this number by going to the IRS website.
Ghost Tax Preparers
Ghost Tax Preparers are fraudsters claiming that they are professional tax preparers. However, they may charge for a percentage of your refund, claim fake deductions to boost refunds, and/or direct the refund into their own account instead or yours. Ghost Tax Preparers also refuse to sign a return, making you responsible for their errors. Before you hire someone to help you file your taxes, make sure they have a valid 2020 Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). If you are looking for a certified tax preparer, you can search through the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.