LEE COUNTY- It seems there’s a never-ending supply of people looking for ways to scam money from the unsuspecting and tax season gives them one more avenue to ply their trade. Keep yourself from falling for one of these scams by taking a moment to educate yourself.
With more and more people filing electronic returns the IRS is anticipating more internet and email-based tax scams. "It is best to remember if you receive an unsolicited call or email from someone claiming to be with the IRS red flags should go up," says Sheriff Mike Scott.
Fake Websites - Creating a website is simple and creating one to look just like a legitimate tax preparer’s website or the IRS is pretty simple as well. According to Scambusters.org there are approximately 5000 phony websites, hosted in more than 50 countries who claim to be a part of or linked to the IRS. Imagine the information you give these phony sites when you log on to file your tax returns thru them.
Refund - Good News; you are entitled to a "refund" at least this is what the email claims. You are instructed to click on the link to access the refund claim form. The form will ask for your personal information which the con-artist will use as they please.
Changes to the Tax Law - This email alerts you of changes in the tax law with a focus on deductions and tax savings. When you click on the link you download a malware.
Paper Check - "Your refund check has not been cashed," says the caller. They need your bank account information to send you your refund. In reality the IRS leaves it up to you if you cash your check or not.
Audit - This email will get everyone’s attention and the scammers know it. The email directs you to click on the link to fill out the forms with personal and account information; which they use to steal your identity.
Here are a few things to remember to keep you from falling for one of these scams:
-THE IRS DOES NOT send unsolicited emails about tax account matters
-The IRS uses the information on your tax return to process your refund
-Filing a tax return is the only way to apply for a tax refund
-To track your refund go to www.irs.gov and click on “Where’s My Refund?
-Anyone wishing to access the IRS website should initiate the contact by typing in www.irs.gov and not clicking on a link.
If you receive a suspicious email or phone call the IRS would like you to report this by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org so they may track these scams.