Scams on the rise as tax season nears

The IRS will never email, text, or contact you through social media
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 4:49 PM EST
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InvestigateTV - Tax season is fast approaching and experts warn scammers have geared up to steal your critical personal information.

The 2022 Annual Report of the Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Information Sharing Mission and Analysis Center (ISAC), a public/private initiative that works to combat tax scams and fraud, showed an increase in suspicious activity from two million reports in 2021 to over eight million reports in 2022.

Kimberly Palmer from NerdWallet said oftentimes victims are tricked into giving out their tax information, leading to millions of dollars in fraud each year.

“They reach out to taxpayers claiming that they urgently need their personal information, their financial information because you owe taxes, fees, penalties,” Palmer said. “But of course, none of that is true!”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said scammers trick people in many ways including a text with bogus links claiming to be from the IRS or other tax services, or a fraudulent email that appears to be from the IRS or a program closely linked to it.

Jacob Channel from LendingTree urged people to verify any contact claiming to be from the government or an official organization before sharing any information.

Channel also said if you think you’ve been conned by scammers reach out to your bank and the IRS as quickly as possible. He said the longer you wait, the harder it’ll be to get your money back.

The IRS has many tips to keep your information safe during tax season, including:

  • Never click on links or open attachments from unsolicited, suspicious or unexpected text messages.
  • Never sign a blank return
  • Always check credentials of any tax preparer

Also remember, the IRS will never:

  • Contact you on social media, text, or email
  • Ask you to pay taxes to anyone other than the U.S. Treasury
  • Demand you pay taxes with gift cards, pre-paid debut cards, or wire transfer
  • Threaten to arrest you for non-payment

You can report tax scams directly to the IRS.