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As always, scammers are out in full force, looking for ways to get their hands on some of your hard-earned cash. Before you trust someone with your tax information, stop and ask yourself whether or not it’s too good to be true.
Here are three tax scams to watch out for:
#1. Identity Thieves
Indiana consumers filing their taxes this year should take precautions to protect themselves from identity thieves who can steal their information and file a tax return in their name.
Last year, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office received nearly 70 complaints regarding tax-refund fraud. In most cases, thieves used a legitimate taxpayer’s personal information to file a tax return and the victim was unaware until they were notified by the IRS.
If you receive an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, do not respond. Remember the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
#2. “Special” Grants and Credits
There are some scammers who insist that you can claim “special” grants, credits, or exceptions due to certain characteristics, such as race or religion and for a small fee can guide you through this process.
The folks that promote these schemes have been posting flyers and advertisements claiming that free money is available from the IRS.
No matter what anybody tells you, tax credits, refunds and rebates are based on a set of tax-related criteria. You don’t get “Extra Refunds” on your tax return for being cute or tall, or because you listen to country music!
Despite the fact that deep down we all know that you can’t get something for nothing.
#3. Shady Tax Preparers
Scammers pose as tax professionals, promising that they can help you claim these special tax privileges. In reality, after showing you how much you could get back, they ask for a fee, and then disappear — leaving you with a tax audit possibility.
There are no special tax treatments for race, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristics. Be wary of anyone who claims that you can get special tax grants or credits in this manner.
Trust your gut. If you don’t feel comfortable, walk away. A real tax professional won’t be insulted if you do – and a bogus one doesn’t deserve your business.
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