Tax scams are becoming commonplace, and they keep evolving. Every day, criminals find new ways to use technology to take advantage of others and their vulnerability or willingness to help.
Below are four scenarios that have become widespread over the last several months. They are red flags that let you know that you are facing a tax scam.
1.- They Call You to Tell You That You Must Pay Your Taxes NOW
The IRS will never call you demanding that you pay your taxes immediately. Nor will they threaten to call the police if you don’t pay there and then. Ignore this type of call and don’t let criminals intimidate you with fake threats. Keep in mind that scammers are using this strategy to target people who have recently immigrated to the United States and those whose first language is not English. If you know someone who may fall victim to this scam, share this information with them.
2.- Your Tax Preparer Asks You to Sign a Blank Form 1040
Avoid signing any blank tax document, regardless of how much you trust the person who asks you to do it. As a general rule, avoid tax professionals who ask you to sign a blank form. Just think about it: by signing a blank form you are agreeing to terms you haven’t even seen—you have the right to know what you are signing.
3.- You Receive an Email Asking You to Click on A Link to Verify Tax Information
This is one of the most common forms of phishing, a scam where cybercriminals try to trick you into providing your personal information. If you receive an email supposedly from the IRS asking you to click on a link to verify your information, don’t do it. In fact, a basic step of safe online navigation is to never clic on links in suspect emails. Stay alert—criminals are highly dedicated and are able to emulate very convincingly genuine IRS emails. If a suspect email hits your inbox, don’t reply, don’t click on any links or attachments, and report the incident to email@example.com.
4.- You Receive a Text Message Asking you to Click on a Link to Complete Your EIP Information
Scammers have made it their goal to take advantage of the financial needs of others. That’s why they have taken to sending text messages asking people to click on a link to verify their Economic Impact Payment (EIP). As with fraudulent emails, don’t reply to the message and don’t click on any link. To report the incident, take a screen shot of the text message and send it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org making sure to include the date and hour in which you received the message as well as the number of the person who sent it.