BBB serving New Mexico & Southwest Colorado was founded in 1941. For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brand and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org.
With tax season underway Better Business Bureau Serving New Mexico and Southwest Colorado is reminding consumers to be vigilant with their personal information. Tax collection scams were the most reported fraud cases to BBB in 2016 with more than 7,500 reported. It is vital that consumers have all the tools they need to protect themselves and know how to protect their personal information and spot a scam. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, emails or letters that claim to be from the IRS or any official-sounding government agency. Watch for these common tax related scams:
Impostor Scams: Scammers pose as IRS agents and instill fear in victims by demanding money or threatening jail time. Fraudsters will spoof phone numbers so that the call appears to be coming from the IRS or local law enforcement. There’s been some cases where cons obtain a victim’s personal information, adding credence to the demand for money.
Tax Relief Scams: Watch for deceptive advertisements claiming to greatly reduce a person’s tax liability. Scammers will use official looking IRS notices or websites to sway people into paying unnecessary money or divulging private and personal information.
ID theft: Scammers use stolen personal information, social security numbers and falsified W-2 information to file fraudulent tax returns in the victim’s name. In some cases, thieves stole W-2’s out of unsecured mailboxes.
To protect your identity this tax season, please take the following precautions.
If having your taxes prepared for you, be sure to only go to qualified preparers and make sure they include their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
Beware of preparers who guarantee high tax returns.
Be cautious of preparers who say you must use other services from them in order for them to complete your taxes. Other services may be notary services, immigration services, or sending registered letters.
E-file only from secure computers. Make sure anti-virus software is up-to-date and never use public Wi-Fi to file tax returns.
Don’t file taxes from an email.