How to Prevent Top-3 Tax Scams of 2017

Don’t get caught in a scam! 

Tax scams come in all shapes and sizes. From phone calls to phishing emails, and even by your own tax preparer, criminals are continuing to find new ways to scam you out of your money and personal information. Tax-related scams can be particularly threatening because the information stolen is often used to commit more serious crimes such as tax identity theft

Follow us as we explore the top-3 tax scams to watch out for this year.  Continue reading

Combating Tax Identity Theft: The IRS and the Taxpayer

Tax season, fraud, theft – oh my! 

Tax season is a notoriously stressful time. Between filling out the forms, paying taxes or waiting for refunds, the tax-filing process can seem endless.

What’s more concerning is that tax season is a holiday for identity thieves. Tax fraud and tax identity theft continue to be a significant problem for both the tax administration and American taxpayers alike. Whether it’s through data breaches, phishing emails, scams or simple social engineering tactics, criminals hope to obtain enough of your sensitive information so that they can fraudulently file your taxes before you do.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made great strides to improve its fraud and identity theft detection methods. Last year, the IRS caught 787,000 confirmed tax identity theft returns from entering its systems. But, fraudsters continue to find ways around these protocols, warranting increased vigilance on both the tax industry and the individual taxpayer. In short, criminals want your tax returns just as much as you do – and they’ll do anything they can to get them. Continue reading

The Big Business of Tax Fraud

Thanks to a mixture of creative criminal activity and lax controls, tax season is one of the busiest, most lucrative times for identity thieves. As such, the IRS will be as busy fighting identity fraud as it will be processing tax returns. In 2012, the IRS admitted that it might not have merely paid out more than $5 billion in the previous year to identity thieves filing for bogus tax refunds, but it would also likely pay out an additional $20 billion in the next few years as tax fraud criminals continue to slip past their defenses.

Update 07/2015: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service paid an estimated $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds related to identify theft in 2014.

Those defenses were dramatically increased when the IRS hired 3,000 new agents whose only focus would be to weed out identity theft. Additionally, the IRS plans to offer additional training to help its 35,000 employees spot fake refund claims. Let’s hope their efforts work. Continue reading