Each year, the Internal Revenue Service compiles a list of the 12 most common, dangerous or costly tax scams. They call this list their “dirty dozen” and recommend that taxpayers stay vigilant during tax season. We will summarize these twelve scams for you, and highlight the steps you should take to protect yourself.
Natural disasters often bring the best out of people—neighborhoods rally to support one another, and those around the country offer physical and financial support. Unfortunately, these disasters also bring out scammers looking to take advantage of those affected. These chaotic situations can cause taxpayers and shelters to drop their guard, and criminals abuse this by impersonating charities or other relief organizations.
The IRS warns that scammers are known to call or email taxpayers asking for donations for fake charities. They may also call the disaster victims directly and present themselves as IRS agents, looking to help the victim file casualty loss claims. The scammer then uses that information to file a fraudulent tax return and take the refund.
Of course, this scam is not limited to any particular time, but the IRS warns to be on alert following “significant natural disasters.” If you want to donate to a charity, do so through the official, secured website or recognized fundraisers. Never send cash, which is harder to track for both security and tax recording purposes. And finally, never give out your personal financial information and social security number to solicitors.