5 Common Types of Tax Refund Fraud
 
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Research and articles related to identity protection

Financial Advice

FRAUD & IDENTITY PROTECTION

Articles and research about protecting your identity

Research and articles related to identity protection

Financial Advice

FRAUD & IDENTITY PROTECTION

Articles and research about protecting your identity

5 Common Types of Tax Refund Fraud

Published March 13, 2012 | Updated March 31, 2012

It’s Tax Season again, which means it’s time to be on the lookout for fraudsters and scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. Keep an eye out for red flags and stay away from offers that are too good to be true.

Identity Theft

occurs when a thief uses your personal identifying information to commit fraud or other crimes without your permission. For example, an identity thief could use a tax payer’s personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund. Learn more about the steps the IRS takes to protect tax payers’ identities.



Phishing

is an attempt by a fraudster to collect your personal information by way of a fraudulent email or website that appears to be from a legitimate entity, such as the IRS. Remember, the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information – ever. Report IRS-related phishing attempts by forwarding the email to phishing@irs.gov.



Return Preparer Fraud

can occur if a dishonest tax preparer commits refund fraud or identity theft against an unsuspecting taxpayer. The IRS reminds consumers to only choose preparers who sign the returns they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer TIN.



Social Security Tax Scams & "Free Money" Offers From the IRS

tend to target low-income individuals, the elderly, and members of church organizations where word of mouth tends to spread among friends. The scams build false hope by suggesting the victim may qualify for special tax credits, all the while charging the victim money for the bad advice and claims that never follow through.



Impersonations of Charitable Organizations

are common following natural disasters. Scammers will pose as charity coordinators to get money or private information from tax payers that want to help. These types of scams have been around for a long time and can be highly sophisticated.



For more information on this and other consumer protection issues, check out the IRS' Consumer Action Handbook.

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