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Tax Time Scams

Tax Time Scams

(This newsletter is reprinted by popular demand. Please read and share because these scams are still active, especially this time of year.) The phone rings. You pick it up and the caller identifies himself as being from the government, contacting you on a problem with your taxes. Your heart races. You begin to wonder what could possibly be wrong? You picture investigations, fines, and trouble! All those thoughts begin to spin in your head while you try to listen to what he is saying. When you start to ask questions, the caller becomes aggressive and threatens serious consequences—police, criminal charges, and jail—if you don’t provide specific information and make a payment right away. That is called a telephone phishing scam. Those scams are all too common during tax preparation season. The more sophisticated telephone scammers might even have a telephone call display ID that looks official, so please be very careful. Or you might have been contacted through a very official-looking email message that demands personal information or even payment. That is an email phishing scam. Bogus requests can also be sent through the regular mail. Scammers use the pretext of a government investigation to obtain your personal and financial information. That puts you at risk for identity theft and the loss of your money as they then access your bank accounts and credit cards. The scammers can even present a positive ruse—asking for personal information because they claim you qualify for a tax refund or a special benefit. Remember: Official government requests for payment or notifications of refunds are typically sent through the regular mail — and they...
Tax Time Scams

Tax Time Scams

The phone rings. You pick it up and the caller identifies himself as being from the government, contacting you on a problem with your taxes. Your heart races. You begin to wonder what could possibly be wrong? You picture investigations, fines, and trouble! All those thoughts begin to spin in your head while you try to listen to what he is saying. When you start to ask questions, the caller becomes aggressive and threatens serious consequences—police, criminal charges, and jail—if you don’t provide specific information and make a payment right away. That is called a telephone phishing scam. Those scams are all too common during tax preparation season. The more sophisticated telephone scammers might even have a telephone call display ID that looks official, so please be very careful. Or you might have been contacted through a very official-looking email message that demands personal information or even payment. That is an email phishing scam. Bogus requests can also be sent through the regular mail. Scammers use the pretext of a government investigation to obtain your personal and financial information. That puts you at risk for identity theft and the loss of your money as they then access your bank accounts and credit cards. The scammers can even present a positive ruse—asking for personal information because they claim you qualify for a tax refund or a special benefit. Remember: Official government requests for payment or notifications of refunds are typically sent through the regular mail — and they already have your social insurance number, date of birth, and your direct deposit information, if you have previously established that payment option....