Common Scams to Avoid During Tax Season - Part 2

By Michael Siino  |  March 19, 2019

Earlier this month, we reviewed three common tax scams – fraudulent phone calls, false tax preparation and offshore tax avoidance. Today we’ll take a look at another three scams that taxpayers should be especially wary of as the filing deadline approaches. As always, common sense rules go a long way toward protecting ourselves from these threats.

  1. Phishing Scams: Maintain safe email protocol, especially during tax time. Whether or not you owe money on your taxes, the IRS will not email you or direct you to websites requesting payment without prior contact. Be cautious before clicking any link in an email or when in doubt, do not click. Websites may be fake and designed to gain access to your personal information. The IRS does not contact taxpayers electronically - whether by text, email or social media - to request personal or financial information.

  2. Identity Theft: With access to your personal information such as your social security number and passwords, there is no limit as to what damage may be done to your finances, credit history or your sanity. Identity thieves are anxious to get their hands on this information and especially at tax time. With your info, they may be able to file false returns with phony addresses to claim inflated refunds, or even worse, use the information to access your bank accounts and drain your savings or run up bills. Be aware and cautious of how you protect access to your social security number, account numbers, or passwords, especially at this time of the year. Periodically update your passwords using secure methods or dual factor authorization and monitor your credit report looking for any suspicious changes.

  3. Fake Charities: Many fraudulent organizations exist whose names and web addresses closely mimic legitimate charitable organizations. Before considering making a donation out of your refund, confirm that you are donating to a suitable entity as listed on the IRS website. Being charitable is good – but take the time to vet out and confirm all solicitations and donations.

Protecting your personal information is important at all times, but even more so during this time of the year when thieves and perpetrators of fraud are on the hunt for victims and information is being exchanged. Remember safe email practices, shred your confidential documents when you are finished with them, and, if you are in a position to make charitable contributions after tax time, make them carefully.

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About Michael Siino

Michael Siino, CPA, is a Partner at Marks Paneth LLP. With over 30 years of public accounting experience, Mr. Siino primarily concentrates on the real estate industry, where he serves commercial and residential real estate clients, real estate management companies as well as co-ops, condominiums, retirement plans and trusts. He also advises high-net-worth individuals and family partnerships. Mr. Siino advises his clients on all facets of accounting and tax issues. Mr. Siino's experience also includes... READ MORE +

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