Two weeks is all that you have left to file your taxes, and as if that’s not enough pressure, a new study finds tax scams tend to spike in April.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure no one else gets your refund.
For several years close to tax time Linda Wade says she gets an unsettling call about tax fraud. Here’s what the one this year said:
“This message has been sent to you as a final notification against your case with the deaprtment of tax and crime investigation. Right now your physical address is under investigation and an arrest warrant has been issued under your name.”
The Spartanburg woman knows it’s fake, and yet she said “It’s hard for a person to get calls like that and you know, not be afraid of it, and it is very frightening.”
Tax Accountant Pam Smith says those bogus IRS calls may have been around for a long time now, but they change just enough each year to remain effective.
“They’re using all the buzz words, badge number, tax payer advocacy service, so they’re coming off as being the legitimate IRS,” said Smith.
Smith says unless you’ve called them first, the IRS won’t call you, they’ll mail a letter.
To sound more legitimate scammers may spoof the phone number or send an email to accompany the phishing call. You might even hear a fake background noise to make it sound more like a call center.
And while a recent study by AllAreaCodes.com found IRS phone scams jump by 20% in the weeks leading up to tax day, there is one growing tax scam that Smith finds more concerning.
“I had a client this year who logged into a tax software, entered his information and then went back into that file at a later date and his return had been filed.”
It may be too late to tell people to avoid that by filing early, but it’s never too late for these wise words of advice:
“Don’t even answer your phone if it’s not a number that you do not recognize,” said Wade.
Keep in mind, scam callers or e-mailers may be equipped with some of your private information even the last four digits of your social security number.
So don’t be fooled into giving them even more information, that’s exactly what they want.