IRS warns of tax-related scams as season begins - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

IRS warns of tax-related scams as season begins

(Toledo News Now) -

With the start of the 2014 tax season approaching on Jan. 31, the Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to be aware that tax-related scams using the IRS name escalate this time of year.

Tax scams can take many forms, with perpetrators posing as the IRS in everything from e-mail refund schemes to phone impersonators. The IRS warns taxpayers to be vigilant of any unexpected communication that claims to be from the IRS at the start of tax season.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be on the lookout for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

Also, the IRS does not ask for personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to

Report phishing scams involving the IRS here.

In addition, the IRS continues to aggressively expand its efforts to protect and prevent refund fraud involving identity theft, as well as work with federal, state and local officials to pursue the perpetrators.

The IRS offers several suggestions for taxpayers to help protect themselves against scams and identity theft:

-Don't carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

-Don't give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.

-Protect your financial information.

-Check your credit report every 12 months.

-Secure personal information in your home.

-Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.

-Don't give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact and are sure of the recipient.

Afraid you've become a victim of identity theft? Learn what to do next and how to protect yourself.

Taxpayers also should be very careful when choosing a tax preparer. While most preparers provide excellent service to their clients, a few dishonest return preparers file false and fraudulent tax returns, ultimately defrauding their clients. It's important to know that even if someone else prepares your return, you are responsible for all information on the tax return.

Tips to help you choose a tax preparer.

If you are the victim of a consumer scam, fraud, or ripoff, contact our Call 11 for Action team at 419-255-2255. You can find more consumer stories in our Call 11 for Action section, including scams and recall alerts.

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