Spotting the Scam: Part 1

Published by John Holmes at August 8, 2019

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Although tax scams are most frequent around tax season, your personal information and finances must be guarded carefully year-round. Every year, the IRS releases a list of the most common tax scams of the year to try and help consumers protect themselves. The team at Fricke & Associates, LLC wants to make sure that you are aware of the scams and how to avoid them.  In this post, we are covering six of the most common for 2019.

1. Phishing—On a basic level, phishing is an attempt to gain your personal information.  Phishing has caused many problems for people because the scams are pretty clever.  For example, people will receive official looking emails from the IRS requesting private information because of a bill or tax refund.  If you receive an email from the IRS, do NOT open the email or respond.  The IRS will NEVER communicate with taxpayers via email.  Any email claiming to be from the IRS is absolutely someone trying to steal your personal information.

2. Phone Scams—Although scam artists have been using phone scams for some time, they are still prevalent.  People will impersonate IRS employees and call to get your sensitive information.  If you refuse, they will make fear-inducing threats, such as being arrested, deported, fined, and more.  The IRS will NEVER contact you via phone and threaten you for your personal information.  If someone calls claiming to be the IRS, hang up.

3. Identity Theft—The fight against identity theft has made some progress, but the issue is still a major concern for consumers.  Protecting your sensitive information will greatly help  in the fight against identity theft.  Remember to use proper security measures on your computer, avoid email and phone call phishing, and keep your personal documents secure.  Never carry your social security card in your wallet.  Realize that leaving your personal information accessible is like throwing cash on the lawn.  Be vigilant and guard your valuables.

4. Return Preparer Fraud—This scam can be entirely avoided by picking a quality and honest tax accounting firm, such as Fricke & Associates, LLC  Unfortunately, there are some tax preparers who scam clients and cause all sorts of problems for the taxpayers as well as the IRS.  Conduct your research and always pick a reliable accountant for your tax preparation.  

5. Inflated Refund Claims—If something sounds “too good to be true” when it comes to your taxes, it probably is.  If anyone promises you inflated tax refunds if you sign a blank return, do NOT sign.  If someone promises you a big refund without looking at your actual records, do NOT believe them.  These individuals often find victims through word of mouth, flyers, fake storefronts, or trusting community groups.  When you trust your tax preparation to the team at Fricke & Associates, LLC, you can feel confident that we will maximize your tax refund in honest ways.  

6. Falsifying Income to Claim Credits—There are con artists who convince taxpayers to report their income improperly to receive tax credits.  Any honest financial professional will tell you it is extremely important to file the most accurate tax return that you can. You will be held legally responsible for what you put on your return. False reporting will likely lead to large pay back taxes and penalties. Always be honest on your tax return!

In short, be vigilant in protecting your sensitive information and only trust your taxes to a reliable and honest company, such as our team at Fricke & Associates, LLC  In our next blog, we will explore the remaining six in the top twelve from the IRS.  If you need help preparing your individual or business tax returns or managing your finances, schedule a consultation with Fricke & Associates, LLC right away.

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