Understanding Tax Scams

Understanding Tax Scams

Taxpayers lose millions of dollars per year due to scammers stealing from honest, hard working people. The IRS has invested a lot of time and money attempting to thwart the problem, but the criminals involved continue to advance in their technology and adjust their tactics to continue to steal. For your own protection, you should be aware of the following scams.

Ransomware

If you receive an email purporting to be from the IRS, do not take any action or follow any links suggested in the message. This is because of a new “phishing” scheme, in which taxpayers receive an email with official-looking IRS and FBI logos, and are asked to click a link to fill out an FBI questionnaire. Instead of pulling up a questionnaire, the taxpayer is downloading “malware”, or harmful software.

This specific scheme involves software called “ransomware” which takes over your computer and locks you out. In order to access your computer and the information on your computer, you must pay ransom money to the criminals.

As a rule of thumb, the IRS does not send out initial correspondence by email or by telephone. Instead, it uses physical mail to send notices. Report any “IRS” emails to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov and http://www.ic3.gov/.

Fake Hurricane Harvey Scams

Thieves never miss an opportunity to take advantage of tragedy, or the goodness of people who want to help. The American Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations have received a massive influx of donations from generous people who want to help victims of the historic and devastating Hurricane Harvey.

The IRS has warned of scammers who are using social media, telephone calls, and creating emails and websites designed to look like requests for help from legitimate disaster relief charities. The con artists responsible for these efforts are after two things: your money and your personal information.

To protect yourself, always do your research. Make sure that the charities actually exist and that they are recognized as tax-exempt organizations by the IRS. Also know that scammers are good at what they do and will create fake charity names that sound familiar, but are wrong.

And as a general rule, never give our your personal information, bank account information, or social security number, no charity needs to have your social security number. Legitimate charities have safer ways to obtain donations, such as an encrypted website where you pay by credit card or an address on their official website where you can send a check.

Call Robert S. Thomas, An Experienced Tax Attorney

For over twenty years, I have proudly offered tax advice and advocacy for Illinois residents. Further, I earned my Master of Law Degree (LLM) in Taxation, and am licensed to practice in the United States Tax Court. If you are having an IRS tax dispute or are in need of personal or professional tax advice, I can help you. Contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 for to schedule a consultation or visit our website today.

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