By Patricia Uceda, Spring 2015 Graduate Research Assistant
As consumers get ready to do their taxes, the FTC is reminding everyone to be aware of tax-related scams with their Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information to get a tax refund or job. You’ll know this has happened because you will receive a letter from the IRS saying more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that their records show wages from an employer you don’t know.
In addition, sometimes scammers pose as the IRS. These scammers will call consumers saying they owe taxes, and even threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay right away. While these calls may look legitimate, do not give in to their requests for your credit card number or a wire transfer; the real IRS won’t ask for credit card numbers over the phone and usually communicates by mail.
If you get a strange letter from the IRS, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. In addition, you can report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or at 800-366-4484, and to the FTC here.
This week, we’ll be posting three tips to help you decrease your chances of being a victim of tax-related fraud, as well as what to do next if you are.