The new year is well under way and many of us have begun our annual tax preparation. This is also the time when fraud, scams, and identity theft is rampant. There are several scams to be leery of:
- The canceled social security number: robocalls claiming that law enforcement is going to suspend or cancel the recipient’s social security number (SSN). No law enforcement agency will use a robocall or auto dialer to discuss your SSN and SSNs are never canceled.
- The IRS impersonation email: emails claiming to be from the IRS and directing you to sites to file your taxes or provide information about your refund. The site is often where thieves can obtain your personal information and commit identity theft. The IRS does not send unsolicited email communications or engage through text messaging or social media.
- The Bureau of Tax Enforcement: since many of us are aware that the IRS does not ask for money over the phone or by email, scammers are resorting to sending unsolicited letters in the mail. The letter may appear official and claim to be from or associated with the IRS, but always make sure there is an official IRS seal and a letter or notice number. Additionally, you can confirm the validity of the letter by verifying the return address or by contacting the IRS directly to check the status of whatever the letter is claiming.
- The Ghost Tax Preparers: individuals that pose as skilled financial advisors or certified public accountants (CPA). However, after completing the return, they often do not sign the return making it appear as though you did the work – removing responsibility or liability from themselves. They might even claim deductions or credits you did not qualify for and if the return is audited, you will be responsible for any errors on the return. Protect yourself by ensuring your tax preparer or CPA has a current and valid Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). A PTIN is issued by the IRS and updated every year.
Scammers and identity thieves are diligently working to gain access to your private information, but these are some steps you can take to protect your identity.
If at any time, you believe your identity has been compromised or stolen, please file a crime report on the Roseville Police Department website:
If there is an issue with your tax return or related issue, you may also contact the IRS directly and the state tax agency, Franchise Tax Board.