Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, people still have to watch out for tax scams because of how they have become more rampant than ever during times like this. Especially after the tax filing date, tax scammers love to use this time to capitalize on the unwitting. They impersonate the IRS to demand payments, and they will also do this to acquire personal information. People have different types of scams that they need to remain aware of, such as:
- Fake charities
- Senior fraud
- Unscrupulous preparers
Criminals especially love to take advantage of the vulnerable, and they have done just that in many cases. They might set up a fake charity to ask for donations. They might even claim the name of a legitimate charity. Before donating, a person might first check with the IRS website to see that the charity is legitimate.
Unfortunately, seniors have become a favorite target of scammers because of how they’re often more vulnerable than other age demographics. This is why it is important to remain involved in the lives of the elderly because it lowers their risk to this danger.
In some cases, “professional” tax preparers will prepare a return, and they may not be qualified for it. In these cases, the liability still falls on the other person. These people are known as ghost preparers, and they won’t sign the tax return prepared. That’s a bad sign.
Ransomware is a form of malware that puts the padlock on a person’s computer. They might threaten to delete the software if they don’t pay a ransom fee, but this only supports the scam, and they even delete the data in some cases.
This refers to scammers that use fake emails and websites to steal personal information. Keep in mind, the IRS will never contact a person through email, and they won’t request information through this medium.
The IRS has repeatedly warned users that these scams exist, and they must remain vigilant against them and not allow themselves to fall victim to them. Do not give these people information, and if something looks suspicious, one of the ways to get around it is through calling the IRS up on their phone number to know for sure.
David A. Noyes and Co. is a DBA of Sanctuary Securities, Inc., Investment products and services are offered through Sanctuary Securities, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC.