Tax scams strike every tax season, and they’re constantly changing. But you can protect yourself by learning how to recognize a tax scam and taking the steps necessary to protect your identity.
How to Recognize a Tax Scam
Tax scams can happen to anyone. But knowing what to look for and how to respond will protect you from becoming a victim this year. Here are four things to remember:
- The IRS does not initiate contact via email, text message, or social media to request your personal or financial information.
- The IRS will never demand immediate payment using a specific payment type (such as a wire transfer or gift card) — you’ll receive a bill via regular or certified mail.
- The IRS will never threaten you with action from law enforcement. Additionally, they can’t revoke your driver’s license, immigration status, or business license for non-payment.
- You have the right to question or appeal any amount you owe the IRS, and there are payment plans available to help.
How To Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud
Tax fraud can happen to anyone. But taking steps to protect yourself from tax fraud (including tax identity theft) can keep you from falling victim to scams this tax season. Here’s what you need to know:
- Keep all tax-related records secure. Put all tax-related documents and other information in a safe place, such as a locked file cabinet or encrypted digital file. And when you’re ready to dispose of your records, shred them. If you don’t have a shredder, you may be able to pay a local postal store to shred your documents for a nominal fee (and some businesses will do so for free).
- Use multifactor authentication for online tax software. Multifactor authentication offers extra security to your account. In most instances, you’ll need extra credentials to access your account, such as a passcode via text or email, your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.
- Never give your personal information by phone, email, or text if you didn’t initiate the communication. Although scammers say they are from the IRS, they are only interested in stealing your information or money. If you’re concerned in any way about the communication you received, call the IRS immediately.
- File your taxes early. The sooner you file, the less likely someone can use your Social Security number or Tax Identification Number fraudulently. You can easily obtain your Quail Creek Bank Tax Documents using Online Banking by January 31. If you’re having any difficulty accessing your information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 405-755-1000.
What to Do if You’ve Been a Victim of Tax Fraud
If someone files a tax return using your personal information, the IRS will let you know they have received more than one return in your name:
- If you file by mail, the IRS will mail you a letter explaining they received multiple returns and how to rectify the situation. Follow the instructions given in the letter to report the discrepancy.
- If you try to submit your return online or through a tax preparer, the IRS will reject your return as a duplicate filing. In this case, contact the IRS immediately. Additionally, report the identity theft immediately to the FTC. (https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/) The FTC will create your FTC Identity Theft Report, IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, and Personal Recovery Plan.
- If someone uses your Social Security number for work, the employer might report that individual’s income to the IRS using your Social Security number. Then, when you file your return, the IRS may come back to you stating you failed to report all your income. You will receive a letter from the IRS explaining the discrepancy and how to clear it up. But if you think someone’s using your Social Security number, you can review your Social Security work history by setting up an account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. If you find any errors, contact your local Social Security Administration office
If you have any other questions about identity theft in general, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/Steps. Also, if you find any discrepancies in your Quail Creek Bank accounts, please contact us immediately.