IRS offers tips to protect yourself from tax time scammers

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, D.C (NEXSTAR) — We’re well into tax season, and that also means we’re well into tax “scam” season, and the IRS is warning people what to look out for.

Each year, millions of dollars are lost to scammers.

The IRS says be leery of anything you get claiming to be from the IRS that isn’t on official IRS letterhead.

“Taxpayers need to remember that the IRS will never initiate contact via phone, email, social media or even via text message,” said IRS spokesperson Jodie Reynolds. “If we need to reach you, the first thing we are going to do is send you a letter.”

Reynolds added that any other communication is almost certainly a scam.

“The biggest type of scams that we see are actually email and phone scams,” she said.

Each year, Americans worried they’re in trouble with the IRS lose millions in tax scams. They often fall victim after threatening calls or emails demanding payment on the spot.

“If you get an email or a phone call claiming to be from the IRS demanding immediate payment right then and there, it’s a scam,” Reynolds said.

But it’s not just schemes on the phone or internet people need to worry about. Reynolds said in-person scams can be just as dangerous.

“If you visit a preparer and they’re offering a larger refund or if they refuse to sign the tax return, that should be a red flag,” she said.

Reynolds says be sure to do your homework: make sure you know exactly who is getting access to your personal information, and file as early as you can.

“The earlier you get your information in, the less likely a fraudster will be able to take that and file a return on your behalf,” Reynolds said.

And don’t forget this: once you sign your tax return, you’re legally responsible for anything it contains.

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