6 Tax Scams to Stay Away From

By Brandon Ballenger

NEW YORK (MoneyTalksNews) — Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and people scared to death of taxes.

That’s part of what makes tax season ripe for con artists. They prey on fear and lurk anywhere they catch a whiff of quick money. Some even find ways to defraud taxpayers out of millions — while in prison!

In the video below, Money Talks News founder and CPA Stacy Johnson continues our series on tax hacks with a look at common tax-related schemes and scams. Check it out, and then read on for more.

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Now let’s take a closer look at common tax-related rip-offs.

1. Phishing

Most of us have laughed off fake emails claiming we’ve won the lotto. (By the way, that recent Facebook class action one is real.) But a scary message from “the IRS” might be more persuasive in parting us from our personal information.

Here’s all you need to know: The IRS never contacts taxpayers by email, text message, or social media to ask for personal information. If you get an email requesting personal information purportedly from the IRS, forward it to phishing@irs.gov. If you get snail mail or a phone call you’re not sure about, contact the IRS directly at (800) 908-4490 to verify.

2. Fishy accountants

If you have a pro doing your taxes, make sure they’re playing by the rules. There are preparers who might suggest inflating your refund by fudging numbers or faking information, sometimes in exchange for a cut of the extra refund money. Just say no.

Remember: Whoever prepares it, you’re signing your return and you’re on the hook for what’s on it.