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Beware These Tax Scams

By: One Nevada Credit Union / 09 Mar 2022
Beware These Tax Scams

It happens every year. Millions of U.S. taxpayers get caught up in stacks of IRS forms, let their guard down for just a moment, and fall victim to a tax scam or fraud. We've compiled some tips to help you avoid these scams and what to do if one happens to you.

Scam #1: Someone Files a Return Before You Do
In this tax return scam, a criminal will file your taxes using your personal information, such as your Social Security Number, address, and more. They will direct the refund (if there is one) to your checking account. Once the IRS makes the deposit, the scammer will call pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service, stating the refund was too large or made by mistake. That criminal will then instruct you to return the extra amount, or the whole refund, via a wire transfer or with gift cards.

How to protect yourself:

  • File early. The earlier you file your taxes, the less chance this can happen to you.
  • Call the IRS directly. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, hang up and call the agency directly at 1-800-829-1040.
  • Keep track of when you file. Be cautious of an IRS refund if you haven't filed your taxes.

Scam #2: Someone Steals Your Identity and Tax Refund
In some cases, the criminals will use your taxpayer and personal information to file a return in your name and have the funds deposited into their account.

How to protect yourself:

  • Keep your secrets. Never share personal information over the phone or online with someone you don't directly know and trust.  
  • Keep your tax returns in a secure location. Holding onto seven years of past tax returns might be an IRS norm, but it can spell doom for unsuspecting taxpayers. Either keep those returns online behind a secure password or lock them away in a file cabinet.

Scam #3: You Receive an Email Stating Your Tax Return Had an Error
This phishing scam preys on unsuspecting taxpayers to click on a link and share information at a fake IRS website. These criminals will request your Social Security Number and other private information to "verify" your identity. Once they have that information, they file a return in your name and steal the refund (see Scam #2).  

How to protect yourself:

  • Erase IRS emails. The IRS will not email if there are problems with your return. Instead, they will send you a letter (via the U.S. Postal Service) on official government letterhead.  

Protect Yourself from Tax Fraud
Some additional ways to protect yourself from criminals this time of year include:

  • Watch for suspicious links or attachments in emails and texts. Never click a link or open an attachment that doesn't come from someone or a company you know.
  • E-file using a secure computer. This means doing your taxes from the privacy of your home, not at the library or other community computer. And never do your taxes using unsecure, public Wi-Fi.

One Nevada Has Your Back
Tax season can be complicated. The best way to protect yourself is to be vigilant. If you've filed and have not received your refund within a month or two, visit the IRS website and check on your return status. The IRS is available at 1-800-908-4490 to help with possible tax return scams and theft. Did someone get access to your One Nevada account information or Online Banking information? Call us and we'll do what we can.

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