Tag Archives: scams

Top 12 IRS Tax Scams for 2016

We are interrupting our regularly scheduled series, to bring you the Top 12 IRS Tax Scams for 2016 — and, it is revealing. Our series will resume in our next blog.

1. Identity Theft. A tax returned filed under another personal identity.

2. Phone Scams. These scams involve threats of the IRS coming after you. Fear tactics are used to scare individuals into giving over personal information.

3. Phishing. Emails are used to trick you into clicking on links and responding to false inquiries. You can read more in Phishing Scams, Tax Scams Part 1 of 4 in our scams series.

4. Return Preparer Fraud. These are not tax preparers at all, but instead people who claim to be qualified to file your tax papers. You should always vet who you chose to do your taxes.  Of course, once you hand over your information, they will then steal your identity and your refund.

The IRS has launched the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers.  If you search Massachusetts 02169, 5 miles, Franch, and Enrolled Agent Credentials, you will find Alex Franch, BS EA of Worthtax listed.

 

2016_01_09 IRS Tax Preparaer's Directory, Top 12 IRS Tax Scams

 

5. Offshore Tax Avoidance. This is the attempt to hide money and income through offshore accounts for the purpose of evading taxes. The IRS suggests that if someone is involved in this to come clean and voluntarily get caught up on tax filings.

6. Inflated Refund Claims. Beware of any tax preparer who promises you a large refund before doing your taxes. This goes hand and hand with #4 above.

7. Fake Charities. This is low, I mean low. These are set up at the most vulnerable and devastating time.  Scammers pull at your heart strings to give to a cause, only to turn around and steal your money.

8. Falsely Padding Deductions. Don’t claim a deduction that isn’t yours. Don’t overstate an amount. Do not claim a credit that does not apply to you. And carefully consider what you take as a deduction for charitable contributions, and rental and business expenses.

9. Excessive Claims for Business Credits. This goes hand and hand with Falsely Padding Deductions. Fuel Tax Credits is one common area of abuse by overstating mileage. Another example given is the Research Credit. Make certain you can adequately prove any credits you take.

10. Falsifying Income to Claim Credits. Don’t make up a tax credit on your tax return. Remember those false tax preparers in #4, well these scammers will try to get you to agree to falsifying your tax return just so you will get a bigger refund. Oops, did I say you? I meant them a bigger refund. Because the scammer will steal your money.

11. Abusive Tax Shelters. The IRS has means of finding abuse. They are determined to find complicated and convoluted tax evasion plots.

12. Frivolous Tax Arguments. These frivolous tax arguments are designed by scammers to convince you to come up with every imaginable argument for not paying taxes. They convince you you have a case, only to put you in a worse predicament. They are often repeat offenders. And, the claims they make irrational and bizarre.

 

Do you think you fell victim to the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Scams?

So there you have it! The IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Scams. If you think that you fell victim to any of the above scams call Alex Franch, BS EA at 781.849.7200. He can help you with the paper work involved to restore your right identity with the IRS. You can also visit our Tax Identity Theft Information Center. Worthtax has locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham.

Other Tax Identity Theft Help Articles:

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin

Phishing Scams and Tax Scams Part 1 of 4

Phishing ScamsPhishing scams (pronounced “fishing”) is the attempt to acquire sensitive information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is done by someone sending an email to a user. They falsely claim to be a genuine business you may be familiar with. Do not be fooled, it is attempt to scam you into providing private information that will be used to steal your identity and possibly your tax refund.

Such information includes, but is not limited to: usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money). There is even an email scam claiming to be the IRS. It is probably the most likely way you would least suspect to be hooked, when it comes to identity theft.

How Is Phishing Possible?

All of us say, “I would NEVER give out my private information.” We believe you, not knowingly. However, you could get dubbed into giving out. Phishing scams are typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging. Communications claim to be from popular social websites, auction sites, popular paid apps,  banks, online payment processors or your own in-house IT administrators, are commonly used to lure you.

Phishing e-mails are designed to entice you to visit a fake website. Of course, this is done by fear tactics. “Your account has been compromised.” As the owner, you are asked to update details about your personal information, such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers. This is information that a legitimate organization already has. The notice directs users to a fake website and enter details there. The website is designed to look and feel almost identical to a legitimate one. It is set up ONLY to steal your information. And these scammers are so nice, they even provide links for your convenience. DO NOT click on the links, as they may lead you to a bogus website with malware on it.

In the meantime, imagine trying to file your return and it gets rejected because the IRS has it already filed. You attempt to get a copy of the return but can’t because you don’t have the ID of the other unfortunate taxpayer who was used as the other spouse on the return. All the while, the scammers are enjoying your stolen refund freely.

Are You Concerned About Phishing Scams, Tactics and Your Taxes?

Our best advice to you is if you get an email from someone that you do know, or the email subject line does not sound right, delete it. Do not open it! Don’t open attachments, and if you did open it by mistake, do not click on the links.

At Worthtax, we want you to be aware of the tactics behind phishing scams, especially when it comes to your tax refunds. If you have not received your refund, and you believe you may have become a victim of tax identity theft, visit our Tax Identity Theft Information Center or call Alex Franch, BS EA at 781.849.7200. He can help you with the paper work involved to restore your right identity with the IRS. We have locations in Quincy, Weymouth and Dedham.

Other Tax Identity Theft Help Articles:

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin

Taxpayer Identity Theft: IRS v Massachusetts

by Alex Franch, Enrolled Agent

Recently, the Massachusetts Department Of Revenue (Mass DOR) announced some new tax fraud prevention tools. Let’s compare how Massachusetts Department of Revenue measures up to the big dogs at the IRS when it comes to Taxpayer identity theft. While e-filing continues to be the most convenient, most popular, quickest, and most secure method to file, it is also targeted most often by cyber criminals.

Preventive Measures

stopping cyber crimeYou can request a PIN from the IRS which they will send you letter with your PIN by mail. Without this PIN, you cannot e-file your tax return. Mass e-files typically require that a copy of the Federal return be attached depending on the system used, therefore, the IRS PIN does not necessarily protect you on Mass. A thief might be able to bypass both safeguards by paper filing but most of these crimes are cyber crimes. In my opinion, the IRS system seems to provide better safeguards from a preventive standpoint.

What if you become a victim?

If someone has filed a fraudulent IRS return with your name or Social Security Number (SSN), you will need to paper file with the IRS, along with an identity theft affidavit. This can delay your tax return for several months. This is a slow and frustrating process for most taxpayers. IRS online resources are very limited in this regard; on the other hand, they are already a very big target for cyber-crime. Pick your poison I suppose.

As I understand it, The Mass DOR’s new system in place would generate a letter (snail mail) and they would hold your refund. The letter would instruct you to go to the Mass DOR website and answer some questions. First, you are asked for the reference number from the letter, your name, and the last four of your Social Security Number. You would then be prompted with four questions to verify your identity. Answer three out of four of the questions, and you get your refund; you get two tries, three minutes each. If you fail twice you will have to take additional steps to verify your ID. It is unclear what additional steps are needed to verify your Identification.

In addition to actual cases of cyber crime, the IRS and Mass DOR both use algorithms to flag tax returns in this manner. Regardless if it is a cyber crime or dragnet, I suppose you are a victim either way.

Concerns

The Mass DOR system processes faster than the IRS, if you need a speedy resolution; however, the IRS has a more proactive system. Mass DOR does not mention what the four questions are, supposedly making it more difficult for the cyber thieves. However, this can make these questions difficult for an honest person to answer and put you on the spot. (Here is my question, how does the Mass DOR know my pet’s name anyway?) Finally, heaven help me if my parents get swept up in this dragnet and I have to help them navigate through the Mass DOR website. We all know how challenging this can be for you and I, but what about the elderly themselves who may not be so quick in their memory or someone helping the elderly who may need answers quickly?

If you have experienced the Mass DOR system or IRS process, please feel free to share your experience below or go to our Facebook or Google+ page.

Other Tax Identity Theft Help Articles:

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin