Each year the IRS releases a Top 12 or “Dirty Dozen” tax frauds and scams they are seeing in an effort to warn taxpayers of things to be on the lookout for. I read this each year and the list includes several of the usual suspects but also has some new additions. You can read the entire IRS list here (IRS Dirty Dozen 2020), but I wanted to highlight a couple of items that I believe are most relevant to our readers:
- One of the most common frauds that impacts our clients are harassing phone calls threatening your loved one will be arrested if payment is not made immediately (usually through Western Union or gift cards). The IRS will never call you requesting immediate payment and payments made to the IRS should be made via check, direct debit initiated through tax preparation software or EFTPS.gov. Nothing the IRS does moves that quickly.
- Many fraudsters are trying to take advantage of well-intentioned individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will place unsolicited calls and emails asking for donations to fake charities; however, these donations will not benefit the intended recipient. I suggest giving to charities you have given to in the past or charities who have a proven track record of helping those in need. If a new charity touches you, taxpayers can find legitimate and qualified charities with the search tool on IRS.gov.
- As always, it is important to protect your personal information. Be careful when anyone requests personal information they should already have (such as a bank or the IRS requesting account numbers or social security numbers). Also, be cognizant about personal information entered when using shared WIFI (such as at a Starbucks or the airport).
Fraudsters have improved their tactics and don’t always place calls with bad English or send emails with poor grammar, so if something ever feels odd please hang up and call us, we are here to help!