Tax Scammers Target Might Target You:
Here's What to Do
It's that time of year - tax time. It's also a great time to get up to speed on tax-related scams. Here are two ways tax scammers might target you and what you can do about it:
Tax identity theft
This kind of identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information - like your Social Security number - to get a tax refund. Tax identity theft also happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job. You find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS saying:
• more than one tax return was filed in your name, or
• IRS records show wages from an employer you don't know
IRS imposter scams
This time scammers aren't pretending to be you - they're posing as the IRS. They call you up saying you owe taxes, and threaten to arrest you if you don't pay right away. They might know all or part of your Social Security number, and they can rig caller ID to make it look like the call is coming from Washington, DC - when it could be coming from anywhere. Leaving you no time to think, they tell you to put the money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the card number right away.
The real IRS won't ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and won't ask for a credit card number over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they usually do it by mail. You can report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or at 800-366-4484, and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
IdentityTheft.gov is the federal government's one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft. You can report identity theft, get step-by-step advice, sample letters, and your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. These resources will help you fix problems caused by the identity theft.
If you are having tax problems and have not been able to resolve them with the IRS, the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) may be able to help you.
TAS can help you if:
• Your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family or your business.
• You've tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn't responded by the date promised.
• You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action.
Neighborhood Tax Centers, Taxpayer Advocate
If you have already received a letter from the IRS or you have tried to e-file your tax return and it's been rejected because your social security number has already been used, Lone Star Legal Aid's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic may also be able to help you.