In a recent news release, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) called on taxpayers to watch out for dangerous tax scams this holiday season. The feds note that the pandemic, the holiday shopping season, and the upcoming tax season are a trifecta many tax scammers are using to gather personal information from taxpayers throughout the country.
What can I do to avoid tax scams?
The IRS encourages taxpayers to protect themselves by using and updating security on their phones, computers, and tablets. This can include anti-virus software that stops malware before it can gather personal information and damage your devices. It is also helpful to avoid clicking on links sent through texts or emails unless you are certain you know the sender and that the sender actually sent the link. Scammers will often send links designed to steal your personal information. These are referred to as phishing scams.
It is also helpful to shop at websites that have an “https” in their address. The addition of the “s” signifies a more secure communication.
How will I know if I am a victim of a tax scam?
If someone calls you and claims to be from the IRS, it is likely a scam. Do not give this individual any personal information. It is also wise to question any communication that claims it is from a health official gathering personal information due to the pandemic.
What can happen if a tax scammer gets my information?
They can use your information to file returns and get your refunds. This can compound tax problems for taxpayers.
Those who are trying to navigate these or other issues with their tax obligations should know that there are options available that can help make payments more manageable. For some who are struggling to pay their tax bills, an offer in compromise can result in a lower tax bill so taxpayers can get on with their lives. This is just one option to discuss with a legal professional that can help ease the frustration of dealing with a difficult tax situation.