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An anxious woman holds a credit card while looking at her smartphone - Tax Scams

10 Expert Tips to Safeguard Yourself Against Tax Scams

Tax season can be a whirlwind of paperwork, calculations, and deadlines. But don’t let the stress cloud your judgment and make you vulnerable to tax scams. With cunning fraudsters lurking online and over the phone, it’s crucial to be aware of their tactics and equip yourself with knowledge to protect your personal information and finances.

Here’s your comprehensive guide to outsmarting tax scammers and ensuring a smooth and secure tax filing experience:

  1. File Early and Seize Control: Don’t give scammers a window of opportunity. By filing your taxes early, you become the one filing the legitimate return first. This proactive approach significantly reduces the risk of someone filing a fraudulent return in your name and potentially stealing your refund. Bonus perk? Early filers often receive their refunds faster!
  2. Secure Your Tax Return with an IP PIN: The IRS Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) program adds an extra layer of security to your tax filing. This unique code, obtained through the IRS website, is required for filing your tax return electronically or by mail. Consider enrolling in this program every year for enhanced protection.
  3. Be Wary of Unsolicited Contact: The IRS never initiates contact via email, text message, or social media to request personal information. Treat any communication claiming to be from the IRS demanding your Social Security number, bank account details, or other sensitive data with extreme suspicion. Remember, the IRS always sends initial correspondence through the trusted and traditional route – the United States Postal Service (USPS).
  4. Verify Caller Identity and Don’t Fall for Pressure Tactics: If you receive a phone call supposedly from the IRS, don’t be afraid to ask questions and verify the caller’s identity. Legitimate IRS agents will readily identify themselves and their employee ID number. Genuine IRS representatives will never request payment via gift cards, cryptocurrency, or any unconventional methods. Additionally, the IRS only accepts payments in U.S. dollars. If the caller demands immediate payment or threatens aggressive actions, it’s a red flag!
  5. Don’t Be Fooled by Spoofed Numbers: Technology can be a double-edged sword. Scammers often use spoofing techniques to make their caller ID appear as an official IRS number. Don’t be deceived – exercise caution whenever personal information is requested over the phone, regardless of the displayed number.
  6. Steer Clear of Unfamiliar Payment Methods: The IRS has established payment procedures. If you encounter a request for payment via gift cards, cryptocurrency, or any other unusual methods, be highly suspicious. Verify the legitimacy of such requests directly with the IRS website or by calling their official phone number obtained from a trusted source.
  7. Stay Informed and Stay Ahead: Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions. Familiarize yourself with common tax scams and the latest tactics used by fraudsters. A quick online search or a visit to the IRS website can equip you with valuable information. Remember, tax scams evolve, so staying updated annually is essential.
  8. Trust Your Gut Instinct: If something seems off or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t hesitate to trust your gut feeling. When dealing with unfamiliar requests for personal information, especially via email, phone, or social media, err on the side of caution and don’t provide any details.
  9. Seek Professional Help When Needed: There’s no shame in seeking help from qualified professionals. If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a communication or suspect you might be a target of a tax scam, don’t hesitate to reach out to reputable sources like the Identity Theft Resource Center or the Federal Trade Commission. These organizations offer valuable guidance and resources to help you navigate complex situations.
  10. Report Suspected Scams and Take Action: If you believe you’ve been targeted by a tax scam or have fallen victim to identity theft, don’t wait! Report the incident immediately to the appropriate authorities. Prompt reporting can minimize the impact of fraud and expedite recovery efforts. The IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have established reporting procedures to help you address such situations.

Protecting Yourself Beyond the Basics

The importance of acting swiftly when faced with a potential scam cannot be overstated. As Colleen Tressler, a senior project manager at the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, rightly pointed out to NBC News, “It’s much easier to stop tax ID theft before it happens than to recover from it.”

Utilize valuable resources like to report identity theft incidents and access a wealth of information on safeguarding yourself from various types of fraud. Remember, staying informed and proactive is the key to protecting your financial well-being throughout tax season and beyond.

Embrace a Secure Tax Season

By following these tips and adopting by combining vigilance with proactive measures. With a little preparation and awareness, you can navigate tax season with confidence, minimize stress, and ensure your financial information remains secure. Remember, a little effort on your part can save you significant time, money, and hassle in the long run. So, file early, utilize the IRS resources, and don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals when needed. With a secure tax season, you can finally focus on the reward – that tax refund!

JS Morlu LLC is a top-tier accounting firm based in Woodbridge, Virginia, with a team of highly experienced and qualified CPAs and business advisors. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive accounting, tax, and business advisory services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area and the surrounding regions. With over a decade of experience, we have cultivated a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and aspirations. We recognize that our clients seek more than just value-added accounting services; they seek a trusted partner who can guide them towards achieving their business goals and personal financial well-being.
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