Beware of Scams as Tax-Filing Deadline Approaches

March 31, 2022

Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning Floridians about scams ahead of the 2022 Tax-Filing Deadline. The Deadline to file 2021 Taxes is Monday, April 18th, 2022. According to the Internal Revenue Service, millions of Americans wait until the last two weeks before the Deadline to prepare their Tax Returns. Last-minute filers are at a heightened risk of scammers fraudulently filing for a return in their name. Other less-common tax schemes also seek to exploit Federal Filing Requirements. To avoid unnecessary hardships, Attorney General Moody is providing tips to help taxpayers spot and avoid tax scams.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The Federal Tax-Filing Deadline is just a month away and millions of Americans have not prepared their taxes. While there is still time, filing early reduces the likelihood that a scammer will steal your Tax Return. For more information about how to avoid common Tax-Filing Scams, check out the tips in our latest Consumer Alert.”

Here are some of the most common types of Tax Scams:
• Tax-Related Identity Theft is when a target’s personal information is stolen so that a scammer can file a Tax Return claiming a Fraudulent Refund.
• The Tax Gift Card scam occurs when scammers forge Fraudulent Tax Bills to give to targets, convincing the target to pay the fee with gift cards.
• Examples of Refund-Recalculation Scams are when scammers send phishing emails to targets, making the email look like a Tax-Refund Payment or a Recalculation of a Tax Refund—attaching a link to input personal information to claim the Refund.
• During June and July of 2021, the IRS received a record number of reports about Stimulus-Payment Scams. Scammers impersonate the IRS and tell targets that the target is eligible for a Stimulus Payment—claiming personal information is needed for the payment to be sent.
• Scammers may pretend to be an independent organization within the IRS called Taxpayer Advocate Services and spoof caller ID’s to make targets believe a legitimate call from TAS is being received. Once the call is received or returned, scammers will phish for personal information.

Tax Scams can be complex as scammers regularly adapt and update schemes. Below are tips about how to avoid Tax Schemes:

• When seeking a new Tax Preparer, look for one who is available year-round;
• Ask a potential Tax Preparer to show an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number—all Legitimate Preparers will be able to provide one;
• Make sure that Refunds will be sent to the Taxpayer and not a Tax Preparer;
• Know that a letter from the IRS about an Unfiled Tax Return is a Scam;
• Recognize that any notices from the IRS about On-line accounts being created, accessed or disabled when no action was taken are often Scams; and
• Pay attention to any Received Wages or other Income from an unknown employer as it could be a sign of Identity Theft.

If anyone receives a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by filing a complaint On-line at: TIGTA.gov Or By Calling: 1 (800) 366-4484. To view other recent Consumer Alerts, Visit our Web-Page At: http://myfloridalegal.com/ConsumerAlert