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Watch Out for Tax-Season Scams
Tax season means a new crop of tax scams that try to get consumers to give up personal information or send money to the scammers. According to the IRS, these are some of the more common scams:
You get an email claiming to be from the IRS giving information on your tax filing, refund or other tax issue. It provides a "temporary password" you can use to access the information. But if you try, it downloads malware onto your computer.
You get a call that has an IRS number in your caller ID. The caller says that you owe money and that if you don't pay it, you will face huge penalties or jail. But you can pay it right then, using a credit or debit card.
You get a letter that seems to be from the IRS saying you owe taxes and threatening a lien or other penalty unless you pay immediately.
In order to avoid being the victim of these or other scams, it is important to remember that the IRS very rarely contacts a taxpayer by phone or email. Virtually all first contacts by the IRS are made through the mail. Ignore phone calls or emails that claim to be from the IRS. Hang up the phone or delete the email without opening.
The IRS does send letters, but legitimate IRS letters come in an envelope with the IRS seal. They also always include information about your rights as a taxpayer. Finally, the IRS never demands payment without giving you a chance to respond to the claim that you owe money. If you think you have received a scam communication, go to www.irs.gov for information on how to report it.