Now that tax season is underway it's also time to brush up on how to make sure you don't get taken advantage of when trying to get your refund.
The Better Business Bureau said that tax collection fraud scams were the most highly reported cases in all of 2016. The BBB said that there were more than seven thousand cases nation-wide.
Monica Horton of the BBB Wichita Falls said that some Texomans have fallen victim to these fraud cases in the past. But she hopes that if consumers are well informed they can lower the chance that there will be more victims in the near future. Horton said that scammers will try to trick or convince someone to give them money or give up personal information including financial account numbers.
Basically, what they do is they try and scare you, or trick you into sending money on back taxes that you might owe something such as that." Said Horton, "So be aware of IRS imposter scams, you need to be aware of e-mails coming in saying that there is a problem with you refund. This is the typical phishing e-mail where they are trying to trick you into clicking on a link or responding with your bank account information something such as that."
Horton and others at the BBB said that consumers should be on the lookout for:
Imposter Scams: A scammer will pose as an IRS federal agent and demand money using his/her false government job to threaten you with jail time if you do not co-operate. Horton said that there are times where a scammer will even use a little bit of personal information gathered to make the demand seem more real.
Tax Relief Scams: A fake advertisement using official looking IRS notices or websites that claims to reduce liability. Horton said that scammers will either ask or demand for money and divulge personal information.
ID Theft: Scammers will try to use some for of stolen or personal information to falsify W-2's and file in the victim's name. Horton said that some thieves will steal straight out of your mailbox.
In a recent press release the IRS around 60% of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns. Horton said that consumers in Wichita Falls and the surrounding areas should make sure to have their taxes prepared by a professional with a Preparer Tax Identification Number or PTIN.
If you are having your taxes prepared for you make sure that you are doing business with a trust worthy tax preparer be aware if someone claims that they can get you a greater refund over someone else be aware if the tax preparer is requiring, you to use some of their other services before they can file your taxes for you.