Every year, the IRS releases a list of its Dirty Dozen, which is a list of the most current and problematic scams that consumers should be on the look out for. This list is made available to the public in order to provide help in avoiding scams. One of the biggest scams this year that’s made the list is phishing, which is the use of emails sent to individuals or companies to trick them into revealing sensitive data, from credit card numbers to passwords.
The 2016 tax season has seen a large increase in phishing and malware incidents, something that the IRS has been very public about battling. In fact, they’ve issued a number of warnings over the past few months concerning W-2 scams that are targeting school districts, corporations, and more. The scam has resulted in the large-scale theft of sensitive information that can be used to commit all kinds of criminal activities, including the filing of fraudulent tax returns.
The IRS released a report on phishing trends and intelligence at the beginning of this year that revealed that the number of phishing sites identified in January eclipsed all of the phishing attempts the IRS had identified over the course of the previous year together. In fact, the IRS has identified a number of new and evolved phishing schemes created to confuse taxpayers during the upcoming filing season. Numerous email schemes have targeted payroll professionals, tax professionals, schools, HR personnel, and even just the average taxpayer. Although phishing is the biggest problem the IRS has encountered this year, it’s only one of the scams on their Dirty Dozen list. The following are the scams that made the list this year:
- Identity theft
- Phone scams
- Return preparation fraud
- Fake charities
- Excessive claims for business credits
- Inflated refund claims
- Abusive tax shelters
- Claiming credits by falsifying income
- Falsely padding deductions on tax returns
- Offshore tax avoidance
- Frivolous tax arguments
These are the scams that everyone should be made aware of, especially now that it’s March, which is Consumer Protection Month. Visit us at The Benefits Store for more news today.