padlock-597495_1920Tax season brings on a lot of stress, and it also brings on a lot of scam artists. Unfortunately, a number of con artists are lurking and waiting to scam innocent taxpayers out of their money. Here are a few common ways the taxpayers tend to get scammed, followed by some tips on how to protect yourself from these crimes:

1. Scammers posing as State or U.S. Treasury representatives

Many con-artists will call taxpayers, posing as Treasury agents for the state in which the taxpayers live. They often encourage taxpayers to give them their bank account information in addition to cash. The scam artists ask for his information and money in return for a larger sum of cash, which they claim will come at a later date. In order to appear more convincing, the con artists will also give their victims an address, a phone number, and a confirmation code specific to the transaction. It is also possible to receive these calls from people posing at U.S. Treasury agents.


2. Pocketing Affordable Care Act penalties

If you’re uninsured, there’s another tax scam you could become victim to. Some untrustworthy tax preparers tell clients to pay the penalties to them directly, and they keep the money. To avoid this scam, taxpayers should never make a tax payment to an individual or tax preparer directly. You should only make payments with a tax return or in response to a letter from the IRS.


3. Posing as the IRS

This scam is typically done through an interaction with a tax preparer, but it largely affects the taxpayer. Scammers will often call tax preparers pretend to be the IRS. These scammers will try to get the usernames and passwords of taxpayer accounts.


Now that you know some of the common tax scams, here are a few tips to prevent them:

1. Don’t be tricked by callers who ask for personal information or threaten you.

Make sure that you only give your personal information to people that you trust. The IRS and the tax department will send you a letter before contacting you by phone or email about a tax debt. If you have not gotten a letter, don’t give your information out over the phone or via email.


2. Watch out for “phishing” emails.

Taxpayers may get emails that contain fictitious government logos. These emails claim to offer assistance in settling tax issues, but these tax issues are actually fake. Neither your state tax department nor the IRS will request your personal or financial information via email. If you get an email asking for this information, do not respond to it.


3. Prevent identity theft

A lot of your personal information, including your social security number, can be found on your tax return, so you need to make sure it doesn’t get in the wrong hands. In order to prevent an identity theft, only give your tax return to a tax preparer that you trust. It is also important that you regularly monitor your bank account for any suspicious activity.


4. Report any of these attempted scams or thefts

If you suspect that you’ve been contacted by someone who is attempting a scam, it is important to report this issue to help make the world free of scam-artists. If you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, you should report this too. And don’t forget to report any tax preparers who you suspect are engaging in illegal activities.
Tax scams can happen to anyone. Make sure you prevent them from happening to you, and make the world a better place by reporting any suspicious activity.