In the US, fraudulent calls are not in tax seasons. On the Tax Day of 2018, for instance, there were 143 million instances of negative robocalls, that is according to Transaction Network Services.
Each passing year, as the April which is the deadline for filing tax returns approaches, there is an increase in scams targeting taxpayers, especially the retired. These scams differ in the form in which they occur; their intention though is one- steal, taxpayers money or stealing of identity.
Below tips can help retirees to stay safe from tax scams:
- Avoid the rush to pay.
- Use strong passwords.
- Don’t let Everyone In.
- Bin all phishing emails.
- Stay vigilant when making online submissions.
- Know who ghost preparers are.
- Stop giving out personal information via the phone.
Keeping vigilant and able to detect fraud can help you stay safe from these thugs. Furthermore, putting in place measures to deal with personal information in the best possible way boosts the chances of keeping your money safe. Here are important heads up to help you steer clear of tax fraud in 2019.
Avoid Rush to Pay
Scammers have this trend of making calls and claims of working with the government. In most cases, they ask you to pay right away and possibly offer a special refund if you make the requested payments.
These scammers are confident to the extent that they might threaten dire consequences, like an arrest, if you don’t pay your taxes right away. Other than a phone call, they might send an email or even a letter requesting you to make payment upon receipt. It’s safe to be suspicious each time you receive a call, an email or a regular mail asking you to pay immediately.
Use Strong Passwords
We are approaching the Tax day and one way that you can use to prevent hackers from breaking into your account and do their dirty work is by reviewing your current passwords. A lot of people, for example, love to post their children and pets’ names on social sites and use the same names as their passwords, it’s time you avoid that. Make your passwords strong by using a combination of letters, symbols, upper and lower cases.
Avoid Letting Everyone In
It’s likely that one of these beautiful days a person will knock on your door with the claims that they are employees of IRS, ask for proof. It’s important to note that real ones from the IRS have with them two forms of ID. Even if these individuals are legitimately from the IRS, it’s within your rights to know the purpose of their visit. Why? The IRS people will mostly contact you using regular mail. Be even more worried if the person asks for money. It’s clear from the IRS website that if you need to make a payment, it should only be to the “United States Treasury” or direct payments via its site at irs.gov/payments.
Bin All Phishing Emails
It’s common for scammers to send emails requesting for personal information. Unsurprisingly, those emails look official; they even bear the IRS logo and other essential markings which would easily sway you into believing you that it’s from the IRS.
Such messages will in most cases ask you to share your information to facilitate the refund. Among the information that these scammers may ask include your bank account or PIN. DO NOT reply to these emails, instead mark them as spams and send them to trash emails.
Stay vigilant when making online submissions
In case you opt to do the filling and submission to the IRS online, confirm that you have the antivirus in your computer is updated fully. Additional precautions like ensuring that the website you want to log into is encrypted. For example, if you don’t see the “https” in the address bar, don’t even think about sharing any personal information with the site.
Know who ghost preparers are
Today, the scammers do not want to look like scammers, the fraudster today act like professional tax preparer so that it’s easy to believe them, their intention remains milking you.
These scammers promise the customers big refund which can be hard to refuse. If you come by such an approach, it will be vital that you ask for verification. Fraudsters also have valid 2019 Preparer Tax Identification Number, a number that identifies different preparers when they are signing a customer’s return and forwarding it to the IRS.
The scammer who poses as the preparers will charge you fees; however, they won’t sign(at the back) your documents as it is required of all the preparers are necessary. They will go ahead and print your return before asking that you sign it and mail it to the IRS.
Stop giving out personal information through the phone
The scammers have advanced with time and use caller ID spoofing which is likely to make a taxpayer believe that they are receiving a call from the IRS. They are good at creating a background that sound like the call is from a government office. Before they call, these scammers usually have one or two information about you which when they spell out makes them look like they are real. If they ask for your personal information, such as your Social Security number, do yourself a favor by hanging up.