With the IRS extending this year’s tax filing deadline to May 17, you have a whole extra month to get your taxes done. Sadly, this means tax scammers also have a whole extra month to try to cheat you out of YOUR money. But you’re not going to let this happen, right? You certainly won’t if we, your friends at Fairway of the Carolinas, have anything to do with it. Up next are some ways to ensure you don’t fall victim to these con artists who wish to rob you.
1. Don’t Take a Caller at Their Word
One of the oldest schemes in most tax scammers’ proverbial playbook is to convince you that you owe money to the state or federal government that you actually don’t. If someone calls you claiming to be with the IRS or state, and saying you owe money, don’t just take them at their word. Be especially leery of this if you’ve already filed your taxes with a tax preparer that you know and trust. And, by heaven’s sake, don’t give out any personal info over the phone. This would include your address, banking information, credit card information, social security number, etc.
Ask the caller for their name, title and affiliation. Then request they contact you by mail with paperwork carrying an official letterhead that clearly identifies the source of the request. Don’t ever, ever assume someone is with the IRS or your state government just because they say they are. Always verify this. And verify with multiple sources within their government agency that everything they’ve told you is actually true.
2. Avoid Sending Personal Info Via Email
This seems like common sense, right? The problem is: Some emails can appear authentic (that is, from a legit government source) when they aren’t. Even if an email looks like the real deal, it’s unwise to take this for granted. The last thing you should do is feel pressured into replying with financial or otherwise proprietary info. Take a deep breath, read carefully and assume you ARE being hoodwinked. Then, if you later find out otherwise (once you’ve called, asked for a hard copy by mail, and verified with more than one credible source), you’ll be pleasantly surprised and you can cut your government a check at the appropriate time. But don’t frivolously drop your personal info over email. Within minutes, you could have your identity stolen and your bank account or credit card wiped clean.
3. Get Educated on the Process
Without a basic understanding of how the tax filing process works, it’s a lot easier to be manipulated. Look, you don’t have to be a CPA to know about general filing and refund procedures. Nor do you need to be a tax pro to know your rights and obligations as a taxpayer. Study up and stay informed on all the protocols involving the payment of personal taxes. This way, you can call your attempted scammer’s bluff or, better yet, report them to state or local law enforcement. Click here for a simple IRS tutorial on taxes. Also, check out this great video below on tax scammers and scams to be on the watch for during tax season.
Here are two other links from the IRS you may find helpful:
Regardless of whether you’ve filed your 2020 taxes, it’s never a bad time to start looking for a new home or considering a refinance. Contact us today at Fairway of the Carolinas to get started. Whether you need a quick pre-approval or just have some questions about the homebuying process, our skilled mortgage advisers are always here for you.