2012-02-29 / Features

‘Dirty Dozen’ Tax Scams

By LIZ GOFF

Officials at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are warning taxpayers to beware of 12 scams most often used by con artists out to steal your identity, cash and sense of security.

Fraudsters are out to get you at this time of year, when you’re anxious to get your tax return filed, IRS officials said.

PHISHING: This scam includes emails or Web sites that trick victims into providing personal information. It’s easy to spot – and even easier to avoid, officials said. “Just turn away when you get an email asking for your Social Security number or other personal information.”

SHADY TAX PREPARERS: Unscrupulous tax preparers are out there, and out to steal and sell your personal information. Do your homework when choosing a tax service, officials said. Choose a legitimate, well-known tax service that will safeguard your personal information when filing your tax returns – and will continue to provide security throughout the year.

Stay away from tax preparers who charge inflated fees, promise guaranteed refunds, encourage you to lie on your tax return or require you to pay half the amount of your refund for the service, the officials said.

Remember, by choosing an unscrupulous tax service you risk losing money and your personal information. Equally important is the threat that the IRS will audit your returns, or hit you for unpaid taxes and interest. And who wants the IRS knocking on their door to discuss the lies they included in their tax return?

For more of the IRS Dirty Dozen tax scams, go to www.irs.gov.

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