The IRS recently released a consumer alert about possible scams that are taking place in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Many people have been getting fooled by fake charities that are trying to solicit money and personal information. These scams can take many forms ranging from e-mail to in-person. Here are a few tips the IRS gave about dealing with these types of scams:
-Don’t donate to recognized charities or charities with names similar to well-known charities
-Don’t give out personal information (Social Security Number, Credit Card Number, Bank Account Numbers)
-Don’t give or send cash
Now that we are on the topic of scams lets dig a little deeper into tax scams. It’s likely to be a daily occurrence: Your e-mail inbox contains at least one message touting a too-good-to-be-true offer. You probably shake your head and delete the pleas from mysterious mock millionaires who need your help recovering imaginary inheritances.
But what do you do when the e-mail has the Internal Revenue Service web address in the FROM box and a subject line that claims you’re about to be audited by the Criminal Investigation Division?
*Step 1. Stop and think. You’ve never given the IRS your e-mail address in relation to your tax return. Even if you had, the government does not request personal information such as your bank account, credit card, or social security numbers via e-mail.
*Step 2. Without clicking on any links or responding to the e-mail, forward the entire message to the IRS (firstname.lastname@example.org). The IRS established this e-mail box in 2006 to investigate and shut down online fraud.
Note: You will not get a response, either online or off, from the IRS when you report scams.
*Step 3. Delete the e-mail.
Besides the audit subterfuge, other common e-mail tax schemes to know and avoid include a promise of additional money due, bogus government grants, and requests for you to check the status of your refund.
Tax scams never die, and they can be taxing. Before you react to any communication from — or purporting to be from — the Internal Revenue Service, contact us. We’re here to help you resolve tax issues.