So many Arizona residents have fallen victim to different types of IRS scams over the last few years. While the government has done a good job of shutting many of them down, there’s always another criminal to take their place. These scam artists will trick people out of thousands of dollars and even prompt people to commit tax fraud in an effort to steal personal information.
They often target the elderly or the very young, people who aren’t well aware of the way that different financial transactions should take place. This creates a vulnerable demographic that really can’t afford to lose the money that they’re throwing away on these scammers.
Unfortunately, this often leaves people in deep debt, and sometimes in serious trouble with the IRS. They may believe that they’re filing their taxes legitimately when all they’re doing is providing their financial information to a group of criminals.
As far-fetched as this seems, it’s actually a pretty common tactic; scammers will do just about anything to get their hands on your personal information, and to persuade you to willingly hand over your hard-earned money. Knowledge is power, and the first step to preventing these scams is knowing about them.
Tax Relief Scams
If you’ve ever sat up late at night and watched all of the different cheesy infomercials, then you may have seen one for tax relief. These are the people that promise miraculous results for one low price.
Unfortunately, the majority of these places don’t do anything more than what you can do for yourself. All they do is print out and send you the offer in compromise, and then charge you a few hundred dollars in the process.
Some may offer you legitimate tax advice, but many of these companies mysteriously go out of business pretty quickly. This is because the services they offer aren’t exactly legal. They target residents that may be in a bad place financially and who can’t pay their IRS tax debt. They bank on the fact that people are ignorant of their options and then take advantage of this.
Many of these companies are breaking the law and end up being banned in certain states. It’s important to read more about Arizona tax relief instead of just taking some fly-by-night company’s word for it.
The key to fighting these types of scams is to educate yourself on your options and to understand what professionals can offer you legitimate help.
IRS Collection Scams
This scam has been sweeping the country and has hit Arizona pretty hard. You may receive a phone call from an individual who’s telling you that the IRS has taken out a warrant and is sending someone to arrest you for not paying your taxes. Some people panic and immediately offer to pay whatever amount the person on the other end of the line is asking.
Unfortunately, these are scammers who are trying to get your personal information or to talk you into paying something. They threaten you with jail or say that they have information on your taxes that could be damaging to you.
These scare tactics are extremely illegal and effective. Using intimidation and the official IRS lingo, these scam artists take advantage of people who think they’re avoiding jail time by paying thousands of dollars.
If you get a phone call from anyone claiming to be from the IRS, understand that it’s not real. The IRS will always contact you using a clearly labeled letter prior to calling you. They’ll never blindside you using a phone call, they’ll never ask for personal information, and they’ll never ask you to pay them directly over the phone.
If you have been a victim of this scam, make sure that you call your local police department and ask them how to report this to the proper authorities.
IRS Filing Scams
This is more of a personal or local scam. A person may claim to be a registered tax preparer, and they’ll ask for all of your pertinent financial information. Then, they’ll fill out all of the necessary forms to file your taxes and claim to send these on to the IRS. Unfortunately, these people may falsify certain documents or not send them in at all.
Filing scams are a way for people to collect your personal information including your Social Security and financial information. They get access to your bank accounts by asking for your routing and account numbers as a destination for your income tax refund. They may intercept your refund and end up keeping it for themselves.
It’s very important to make sure that your tax preparer is appropriately licensed and has a good reputation. If a person doesn’t have financial integrity, they can sell your information or steal thousands of dollars from you. On top of that, it can land you in hot water if your taxes don’t actually get filed or if they get filed incorrectly. You can be on the hook for tax fraud if you don’t immediately report a person who’s doing something like this.
It can be difficult to recover from these sorts of scams. You may have signed consent forms or information that you weren’t aware of. This is why it’s so important to stick with a trusted accountant or with a company that you know you can trust. Always follow your taxes and make sure that they have been received and acknowledged by the actual IRS.
Don’t Be a Victim
You always have the right to ask questions. Anytime that someone is trying to get personal information from you, you’re better off being safe than sorry. Don’t ever trust a “representative” that refuses to provide credentials or one that contacts you directly. You’ll always receive some sort of letter prior to any official contact from the IRS.
It’s also important to remember that the IRS will never ask you for payments directly over the phone. When in doubt, call the IRS and ask them about their procedures. This can save you a lot of heartache and a lot of money in the long run.