IRS warns of scams as tax season begins - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

IRS warns of scams as tax season begins

As you get ready to file your W2s, con artists are ready too. As you get ready to file your W2s, con artists are ready too.

Tax season is in full swing. As you get ready to file your W2s, con artists are ready too. They are ready to spend the tax season trying to steal your money. But the IRS is stepping in to help you stay ahead of the scammers.

"Unfortunately the scammers are out there every year, but they seem to be getting a little more sophisticated," said Dan Boone, media spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service.  Boone said every year, people fall prey to tax scams. But the sooner you start the process, the better.

"These folks are primed and ready once the IRS starts processing returns," he said. 

In an effort to keep you from becoming a victim, the IRS released some of the most common scams for 2014.

  • Identity theft. That's when a thief steals your information and uses it to file a tax return to claim a refund.
  • False promises of inflated refunds. That's when scam artists pose as tax preparers and lure victims in by promising a large refund.
  • Telephone scams.  Callers pretend to be from the IRS in hopes of stealing your money or your identity.

"If you get a call from anybody asking for money or asking for private information and you're suspicious that it may not be on the up and up, just tell you are not comfortable doing this on the phone and ask that they send you something in writing and respond to that," said Boone.

Tax scams come in many forms. The best defense to a potential scam is to stay vigilant. If you feel you have been a victim of some kind of tax scam, contact the IRS immediately.

Do not let a fear of being scammed prevent you from getting tax help if you need it. "There's a lot of free tax help out there," Dan Boone. "In fact, right here in Madison County, there are 11 tax help sites that are staffed by IRS trained-and-certified volunteers. They will prepare your return and e-file it for you at no cost if you meet one or two criteria."

Those options are available to you if your income was under $52,000 last year or if you are age 60 or older. For more information on the locations of tax help sites near you, as well as information on how to volunteer, visit the IRS website.

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