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  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    Here’s how to deal with tax scammers on the phone 

    Here's how to avoid tax scammers on the phone

    By Greg Collier

    We’re just a month and a half away from the tax deadline this year. In 2022, there’s no courtesy extension due to the pandemic. U.S. tax returns are due on Monday, April 18th. As the deadline draws closer, scammers may see it as having their own deadline, the deadline to commit as many tax scams as possible. Not all tax scammers are after your refund check. Many of them are attempting to get your sensitive personal information instead. To accomplish this, they’ll imitate the one federal agency that everyone fears, the IRS.

    Many scammers will call their victims, posing as the Internal Revenue Service. If the scammer is attempting to get money from you, they’ll set out to get you to make a payment to them, typically in non-traditional means like gift cards or cryptocurrency. If the scammers are trying to steal your personal information, they may tell you the IRS owes you money, but they’ll ask you for personal information to verify your identity. What they’re actually attempting is to steal your identity.

    CNBC has a great article on how to help avoid these scams. According to CNBC, if anyone calls you claiming to be the IRS saying you owe them money, ask them for as many details about the supposed case as possible. While it’s not a guarantee the scammer won’t hang up at this point, it is said that it will stop the majority of scammers from pressing forward. You can also tell the caller you’re not comfortable giving personal information over the phone and would rather continue communication by mail.

    It’s always good to keep in mind the IRS does the majority of its official communication through the postal mail. The agency will only call you if you’ve already been in contact with them through the mail. They will not call you about a case that they just opened.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 19, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Victim loses $170K in IRS scam 

    Victim loses $170K in IRS scam

    By Greg Collier

    With 2020 tax returns being so confusing to file due to the pandemic and a change in tax law this year, it seems like scammers are taking advantage of that confusion. Sadly, IRS scams are nothing new. If your identity has been stolen, scammers may try to file for a refund in your name before you do. They may even try to intercept your refund check or change your direct deposit to another bank account. Then there is the old classic of IRS scams, threatening to arrest you if you don’t pay.

    A woman from Dallas, Texas recently fell victim to this scam. A pair of men called her, posing as the IRS. These men told the woman that she had a warrant out for her arrest due to unpaid taxes. Once the woman paid the scammers $10,000, the scammers became even more greedy. More calls followed with more demands for money. The scammers overplayed their hand when one of the money deliveries did not reach the scammers. One of the scammers told the woman to file a police report to recover the undelivered payment. When she went to file the report, police told her that she had been scammed. Before it was all over, the woman paid the scammers $170,000. Police were only able to recover 10% of the $170,000.

    While it may seem intimidating to receive a phone call like this, no law enforcement or federal agency is going to threaten you with arrest over the phone. The vast majority of communication that comes from the IRS is done through postal mail. The IRS does accept payments in a myriad of ways, but they recommend doing so electronically through the IRS website. For other IRS scams, you can refer to the IRS’s Consumer Alerts page.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    College students targeted in tax scam 

    College students targeted in tax scam

    By Greg Collier

    With it being tax season, tax scams are on the rise. We’re not talking about the kind of tax scam where federal agents show up at your door because you claimed the squirrels in your yard as dependents. We’re talking about the kind where is either trying to separate you from your refund, or using the promise of a refund to steal your information. The latest targets in this kind of tax scam are college students.

    The IRS is warning people that anyone with an email address ending in .edu is vulnerable to this scam. The scam is essentially a phishing attack. The student receives an email that appears to be from the IRS asking the recipient to click on a link that’s labeled either “Tax Refund Payment” or “Recalculation of your tax refund payment.” If the victim clicks on the link they’re taken to a website that asks for personal information like name, date of birth and Social Security number.

    Theoretically, college students are a prime target for identity thieves. At that age they may have established any serious credit yet which is the holy grail for identity thieves. Identity thieves could use a young victim’s credit for years before the victim ever realizes it.

    There’s been this stereotype that’s been going around forever that young people are better with technology than their parents. While that may be true, they may also be unsure of how filing their income taxes and receiving a refund works. So, they might think that this phishing email is a legitimate way of claiming their income tax refund. We realize that our readers tend to be from a different demographic than college students, but we also realize that you may have a college student in your family. If you do, you may want to warn them about this potential scam.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 11, 2021 Permalink | Reply
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    Tax scam season is starting 

    It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that we were all filing our taxes for 2019. Due to the pandemic, the IRS gave us all a generous extension to file our income taxes. This year, we’re not so lucky. The deadline for filing your taxes this year is the traditional April 15th. So, with tax season also comes a number of tax scams which are made even more difficult to avoid due to 2020s unprecedented circumstances.

    The best tip we can give to avoid being scammed is to file your taxes as soon as possible. Last year, scammers were known to file for false returns using stolen identities. If you wait too long you could receive a notification from the IRS that someone has already filed a return using your Social Security number.

    Also, if you’re not going to do your own taxes, and you’re looking to use the services of a tax professional, research the person or company first. Dome fraudsters will set up shop looking like a legitimate tax preparer only to steal your identity and your refund while charging you to do it. Try to avoid any service that’s promising you a ‘too good to be true’ return.

    Tax season is also when scammers will attempt IRS impersonation scams. The scammers will call their victims posing as the IRS and demanding payment for any number of reasons. The one thing all these impersonators have in common is that they will try to pressure you into making a payment over the phone. The IRS does not call taxpayers about tax issues. If the IRS has a concern that they need you to resolve, they will always contact you through the regular mail.

    If you suspect one or more of these scams you can call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
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    Identity thieves could steal your tax refund 

    Identity thieves could steal your tax refund

    We’ve discussed IRS scams in the past but those scams usually involve someone posing as an IRS agent demanding money from their victims. Now, with it being tax season, there is a whole different scam to be on the lookout for and that’s the tax identity theft scam. In this scam, identity thieves get a hold of your Social Security number and try to steal your tax return using your personal information. With the advent of electronic filing and direct payments, it’s easier than ever for someone to file a phony tax return before the victim even knows about it.

    One of the main ways that identity thieves steal your personal information during tax season is posing as tax preparers. If you’re going to have your taxes prepared professionally stick with the more reputable and well-known firms. If you’re going to use a local tax preparer for the first time, do your research on their reputation and performance. A number of fly by night operations seem to pop up out of nowhere during tax season. If they’re offering their service at below-market costs this could be an indicator that they’re not on the up and up.

    The best way to avoid this scam is to file your return as early as possible. Basically, you want to try and get your return in before any potential identity thieves do. If you’re filing by mail you should take your return directly to your local post office and not risk leaving it to sit in a mailbox. And definitely don’t leave it in your own mailbox for the postal carrier to pick it up. It could be easily stolen from your mailbox that way.

    If you receive a letter from the IRS stating that a duplicate return has been received get in touch with them right away as that means that someone did, in fact, file a return in your name.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on March 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
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    Tax collection, Homeland Security, and yet another puppy scam 

    Tax collection, Homeland Security, and yet another puppy scam

    It’s time again to bring you some more scams that are happening around the country that could ultimately impact your area and possibly someone you know.

    First up is a twist on the typical IRS scam. In the typical IRS scam, someone will call a victim on the phone pretending to be from the IRS trying to pressure the victim into making an immediate payment on a tax bill that doesn’t actually exist. The flaw in this scam is that the IRS rarely calls a taxpayer to settle any taxes owed. Instead, the IRS is known for mailing out any delinquent tax notices. That’s where this new scam being reported out of Sullivan County, Tennessee takes it up a notch. The scammers are mailing out letters claiming to be from a “Tax Enforcement Department” which then directs potential victims to call a phone number to make a payment. If you receive a letter like this and you feel like you may owe the IRS some money always call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.

    Speaking of government agencies, our next scam involves possible the most fear-inducing branch of the government and that’s the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS recently released a warning stating that scammers were calling people posing as the DHS by spoofing official DHS phone numbers. That way when someone receives the call it appears to be from DHS itself when in reality it’s just a scammer. The scammers are said to be claiming that the people they call have been victims of identity theft and ask the victims for personal information or threatening people with immigration offenses if they don’t make a payment right then and there. Some of these scammers are even sending out emails using an uscis.org email address. That is similar to but not the web address of DHS which is actually uscis.gov If you receive one of these phone calls or emails, the DHS requests that you call them at 1-800-323-8603.

    Lastly, we have an online puppy scam that has an added level of cruelty added to it. Luckily, no puppies actually exist in this scam if you can call that lucky. An online puppy scammer is said to be taking money from victims over PayPal as a deposit for a purebred puppy. The phony breeder then directs all of their victims to an address in Atlanta, Georgia to pick up the fictitious puppy. According to FOX 5 Atlanta, people have driven from as far away as Detroit. The man who lives at the Atlanta address has had to tell all the people who showed up on his doorstep that they’ve been scammed. Buying puppies online is always a risky venture as there are a plethora of scams involving puppies, some of which end up with puppies being bred in backyard puppy mills. When searching for a new pet for your family you should always deal with a locally licensed breeder or your local shelter. You’re less likely to run into scammers this way.

  • Geebo 10:02 am on February 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , income tax   

    Amazon’s alleged tax dodge is just the beginning 

    Amazon's alleged tax dodge is just the beginning

    Last week was not a good week PR-wise for Amazon, the company owned by the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos. Even before it was announced that Amazon was not going ahead with their second headquarters in New York, they were raked over the coals in the press for allegedly not having to pay any corporate income tax for this year and last year. Instead, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy published a report claiming that Amazon received multi-million dollar tax refunds.

    So how did this happen? According to the report from ITEP, it’s because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress passed in 2017 which was heavily backed by President Trump. It not only lowered corporate tax rates but it also failed to close loopholes that large corporations like Amazon could take further advantage of. This is somewhat ironic since President Trump has long criticized Amazon’s business practices while enabling a law that allows Amazon to supposedly continue those practices.

    So Amazon is not paying its ‘fair share’ taxes, what’s the big deal right? Well, it’s not just Amazon who is taking advantage of these new tax regulations. Netflix is another company that will reportedly pay no federal income tax this year either. How many other Fortune 500 companies will also look to take advantage of these loose corporate tax laws? Without corporate taxes being paid as they have been before 2017 tax increases could be passed on to an already overtaxed American public making the economic disparity in our country even worse.

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