By Hector E. Cisneros
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They say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. Well, I‘m here to add a new one to this list, tax scams! Every year starting around January the scam artists ratchet up their scam machines and start grilling the elderly, desperate and greedy who are naive enough to believe what these
are selling. Every year they seem to
get better at their schemes, so this year I thought I would give our readers a
heads up on the latest and scariest Tax and IRS scams being perpetrated on the
US population. So, sharpen your pencils tax preparers and learn about the
latest Tax and IRS scams lurking on the World Wide Web. conmen
Phone Scams: Now, the first scam I am going to cover is not exclusive to the internet. In fact, it takes place mainly via the telephone and
networks. However, since
many now use voice over IP phone systems, these calls are taking place on the
internet as well. I had an up close and personal experience with this
scam recently. I received a call on my Google Voice line that was very
suspicious. Google Voice is an internet voice line that forwards calls to my
other lines as a follow me find me service. Here is what
the caller said in a very robotic voice (this is the actual text
message sent to me from Google voice). cellphone
“This is Marcus Brown and I am calling
fraud investigation department of from . The matter at hand is extremely time
sensitive and urgent as after IRS found that there audit we a fraud and misconduct
on your tax return which indicates you are hiding assets from the federal
government. This needs to be rectified immediately. So, do return the call
as soon as you receive the message. The
number is 855-512-2378 again 855-512-2378. Thank you. Goodbye.” was
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In an article from AOL Finance, I found statistics for this type of scam. This type of scam has been growing in numbers since 2013, and the latest stats listed by the IRS show that in 2014, 55,000 people complained about receiving these types of calls. To make matters worse over 5000 people fell for this type of scam to the tune of 26.5 million dollars. Other articles I read also rated it as either the number one or two scams for 2017.
The good news is that the IRS does not call individuals or businesses unless they have already been in contact with you via snail mail. In an article from the Motley Fool called; 3 Tax Scams to Watch out for in 2017, they provide these five things that the IRS will never do:
- Call to demand immediate payment or call at all without first mailing you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without an opportunity to appeal or question the amount owed.
- Require a specific payment method.
- Ask for a credit/debit card number over the phone.
- Threaten to have you arrested for not paying
Phishing: The most common type of scam on the internet often involves Phishing. These types of scams are not new, but they are ever increasing in quality and sophistication, making it harder for the average computer user to distinguish a phishing email from a legitimate communication. Many, if not most, of these scams, start by the criminals gathering information from social media sites. Some come from hacked email lists obtained from the many internet business breaches that have made headlines in the last few years.
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Identity Theft: An interesting article about ID theft can be found by reading; “A Brief History of Identity
Theft.” Here I found out that ID theft has been on the rise every
year since the influx of Illegal immigration in 1965 that prompted the creation
of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The creation and widespread use of credit
cards accelerated this type of theft because there was now an easier way to perpetrate
ID theft. ID theft is directly related to
phishing schemes in most instances. This is how hackers and other cybercriminals
often gain access to your social security number and ultimately your identity. However,
don’t rule out old fashion dumpster diving and trash can
. Criminals still
use this avenue to gain access to information that ultimately leads them to deceive
you and to steal your identity. In other articles, I have recommended that everyone
should have some form of ID protection insurance. Many insurance companies offer
them today. I also personally recommend Life Lock as it is one of the more comprehensive
ID protection products on the market. scavenging
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Fake Charities: During tax time, many taxpayers look to contribute to their favorite charities because
would rather give to a charity
than give that money to Uncle Sam in taxes. I know many now provide online donations
because many charities are working hard to make it easier to donate. Cyber criminals
are aware of this as well. Many have raised the bar to enhance the look and feel
of their fake charity websites and phishing schemes to fleece the giving public
of their charitable donations. Be wary of any solicitation emails you receive from
professed charitable organizations. Vet them thoroughly. Call their office
to verify websites and procedures. We wrote about this in our article called: In Search of Digital Donations some time back. Make sure you check the IRS’s charitable organization Non-Profit Exemption List before you make any donations online. they
Return Preparer Fraud: Most of the tax preparers out there
honest professionals working hard to are
you the best tax return possible. However,
there are criminals who use this profession as a disguise to commit fraud and steal
your money. Many of these criminals get up shop and set best return for
your money or proclaim that they have discovered new tax loopholes that most other
advertise the haven’t heard of yet. They usually ask for a higher fee or worse use this
scheme to acquire your financial and identity information to steal your money and
your identity. In some cases, they sell your identity after they close up shop and
move on. Make sure you check out the article on IRS preparers . called: IRS “Dirty Dozen” Series of Tax Scams for 2017 Includes Return
Preparer Fraud; Choose Reputable Return Preparers. It contains a checklist to help choose an honest and professional
Tax Preparer. gov
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On our notes page, I have included a long list of research articles to help our readers learn as much as possible about tax and IRS scams. Here is my short list of third party articles to help you get started.
We have written a lot about various types of scams, including phone, phishing, website, social media and other
To make life easier for you, I have provided a list of our best articles covering
this subject. Make sure you check them out. It could help you keep hackers and other
cyber criminals at bay. cybercrimes
Working the Web’s Short List of Internet Scam Articles
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- The Hack Attack Is Back
- How to
Spamalot Stop Sir
- In Search of Digital Donations
- The Cybercrime Clock is Ticking
- What’s at Stake When It’s Fake?
- How Freeware Can Cost You BIG
- Is Google Calling? Or is it Someone Else?
- How to Avoid Being Caught in an SEO Phishing Net
- Working the Web - Is There a Cyber Attack in Your Future?
- How to Spot Search Ranking Scams and Other Search Engine Enigmas
- Trick or Tweet? The Vulnerabilities Inherent to Twitter and All Social Networks
- Getting Faked Out On Facebook - Copy Cat and Facebook ID thieves – It can Happen to You
Avoid being scammed by cyber criminals by following the suggestions and implementing the safeguards listed in this article and the other articles provided here. Don’t become a victim of cybercrime. Cyber fraud is the number one type of crime committed in the US today. You can protect your identity and financial security, but it requires due diligence and vigilance. Take the responsibility to make sure you don’t become a victim. Begin by learning everything you can. Reading this article is a great start.
That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.
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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”