Tax scams spike during filing season | Better Business Bureau

With tax season in full swing, the Better Business Bureau Northwest warns of new twists on tax scams hammering local consumers.

  • Tuesday, January 19, 2016 3:00pm
  • Business

With tax season in full swing, the Better Business Bureau Northwest warns of new twists on tax scams hammering local consumers.

According to the BBB Scam Tracker, tax scams ranked at the top nationally in 2015 with more than 2,000 reports out of 10,000 reported. The Internal Revenue Service says consumers lost more than $23 million over the past three years to impostors posing as federal agents tricking victims into making false tax payments.

The Better Business Bureau reminds consumers to be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or letters purported to be from the IRS or any official-sounding government agency. The IRS will not call to demand payment, ask for financial information over the phone or require that taxes be paid by a certain method.

Watch for these following scams:

  • Impostor Scams: Scammers pose as IRS agents and instill fear in victims by demanding money or threatening jail time. Fraudsters will spoof phone numbers so that the call appears to be coming from the IRS or local law enforcement. There’s been some cases where cons obtain a victim’s personal information, adding credence to the demand for money.
  • Tax Relief Scams: Watch for deceptive advertisements claiming to greatly reduce a person’s tax liability. Scammers will use official looking IRS notices or websites to sway people into paying unnecessary money or divulging private and personal information.
  • ID theft: Scammers use stolen personal information, social security numbers and falsified W-2 information to file fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name. In some cases, thieves stole W-2’s out of unsecured mailboxes.

This tax season, the BBB recommends consumers take the following precautions.

  • E-file only from secure computers. Make sure anti-virus software is up-to-date. Never use public Wi-Fi to file tax returns.
  • Don’t file taxes from a link in an email.
  • Mail tax returns from the post office or a secure mailbox.
  • Shred old tax returns. Income tax returns and worksheets should be kept for seven years from the filing date.
  • Know your tax preparer. Find ones you can trust at bbb.org.

For more information or to file a complaint, go to bbb.orgFTC or the IRS.

 

More in Business

Lt. Dan needs lots of helping hands

Gary Sinise formed the “Lt. Dan Band” in early 2004 and they began entertaining troops serving at home and abroad. Sinise often raised the money to pay the band and fund its travel.

New Enumclaw wine bar aims for broad audience

Bordeaux Wine Bar is scheduled to be open Wednesdays through Sundays.

Streamlining regulations makes more housing affordable

There were over 21,000 people homeless in Washington State last year.

Water pressure mounting in West as population spikes

What is happening in California with water allocation disputes is a harbinger of what is to come in our state as well.

Railroads implementing positive track

While the investigation continues into the deadly AMTRAK derailment near Dupont, the clock continues to tick on the implementation of Positive Track Control (PTC). The deadline is Dec. 31, 2018.

Keep the holiday spirit all year long | Don Brunell

During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to giving — not just giving gifts, but donating our time and money to charities, disasters and community programs.

Finding balance in occupational licensing

Recently, the Institute for Justice (Institute) determined state licensing barriers for lower-income workers and aspiring entrepreneurs not only hurts people trying to establish themselves in a profession, but annually drives consumer prices up by $203 billion.

Remember 1993

Twenty-five years ago, business took a beating in Olympia. The swing to the left in the 1992 general election was swift and potent. It drove higher costs to employers and more government regulations.

Remembering Ed Carlson, Vietnam POW

Since last Veteran’s Day, Ken Burns’ in-depth documentary on the Vietnam War has aired. It is a powerful reminder of an unpopular war in which many “baby boomers” fought and died.

Rural prosperity essential to Washington

While Seattle is growing rapidly, our rural areas continue to struggle. They don’t have the corporate giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing creating jobs and economic opportunities. Farms are predominantly family-owned.

Amazon’s plan reminiscent Boeing’s Chicago move

Last year, Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates wrote about the similarities and differences between Boeing’s corporate office move to Chicago and Amazon’s plan for a second headquarters.

LiveLocal98022 meeting cancelled

Bob Green, the night’s speaker, notified the organization he couldn’t attend due to an illness.