Whether consumers have filed their taxes or are in the process of doing so, now is the time to protect against potential tax scams. Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to beware of electronic communications about taxes or refunds that appear to come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Identity thieves will impersonate the IRS to ‘phish’ for personal and private information. The emails may state there is a problem with a refund or return, and that confirmation of personal or financial information is required to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, once consumers click on a link – leading to a fake website – and verify their personal information, they are at risk. BBB offers the following tips on how consumers can prevent falling for a tax scam and becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Be wary of emails, phone calls or text messages that claim to be from the IRS. If the IRS needs to contact you, they will generally do so through mail. Consumers who receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from the IRS or an organization with a similar name, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should report it immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the IRS website for the top tax scams for 2015.
- Contact the IRS directly to verify additional correspondence by locating the nearest local office at irs.gov. There are eight IRS offices throughout Arizona.
- Do not provide any personal information, click on links or open any attachments if it appears to be a phishing email from the IRS.
- Start with trust by selecting a trustworthy tax preparer at SearchBBB.org. Ensure the person helping you file your taxes has a Tax Preparer Identification Number (TPIN). Selecting a reputable tax preparer will help protect your personal information.
Find trusted tax tips and more on BBB’s Tax Resource page at bbb.org/phoenix/tax-tips/.