Death and taxes – and tax fraud
Unfortunately, these three things are certain in life.
Good news about tax fraud: It’s just as rampant as it’s always been, but at least more Americans are aware of it.
With tax season looming, tax fraud is about to repeat its annual scourge. Experian, one of the Big Three credit bureaus, polled taxpayers and learned that 76 percent are now aware of these scams – a huge improvement from only two years ago, when 57 percent had heard about them.
These scams encompass all kinds of technology…
- Online: If thieves have already stolen your identity, they can actually file your tax return for you – not to be helpful, but to get your tax refund sent right to them.
- Phone: This time of year, scammers call taxpayers and pretend to be from the IRS. They ask for your Social Security number and sometime even your bank account information. (The IRS only contacts you through the Post Office.)
- In person: Shady tax preparers look you straight in the eye and steal your personal information – which is why you should never hire tax preparer who doesn’t have a long-standing reputation as excellent and ethical.
Knowledge is power, right? It would follow that this awareness will mean less tax fraud. Experian isn’t so confident…
Even though the concern over tax fraud has grown significantly, a majority of survey respondents aren’t planning to take the IRS recommended steps to protect themselves. Only 12 percent are planning to check their credit report [and] a mere 6 percent will file their taxes on a computer with up-to-date antivirus software.
That’s worrisome, because guarding against tax fraud is easy. Consolidated Credit shows you how in 4 ways to stay safe.