In a few weeks, the dreaded tax season will be over. We loathe those oddly titled documents with the tiny print. We wonder what number – refund or remainder – those mysterious equations will spit out.
And as more of us sign up as part-time contractors, driving for Lyft and selling crafts on Etsy, our taxes get more complicated. We get anxious.
Criminals love to take advantage of that anxiety.
Tax scams and phishing operations are getting more sophisticated than ever. By faking ads, websites and caller IDs, scammers will gladly prey on your ignorance.
Impersonators have a new twist
Many people have fallen victim to fake calls from the IRS. These calls are designed to trick you into giving up your personal info. They’ll pretend to be an IRS employee, even some type of federal agent or law enforcement officer and demand you pay non-existent overdue taxes. They will insist on using wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift cards. If you don’t pay up, scammers say they’ll come to your house and arrest you.
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Conversely, scammers may play “good cop” as well: They’ll impersonate a friendly IRS agent and say you’re entitled to a big refund. You just have to hand over some of your info first.
Now there’s a new spin. Impersonators are calling, saying they’re from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), which is an independent…