IRS ‘Dirty Dozen’ scams target your personal information and money

Finance

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Internal Revenue Service is out with its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” scams that are targeting you and your money.

CPA Garrett Wagner of the New York State Society of CPAs said there are a few key things you should be looking out for to protect your personal information and your money.

“One of the biggest things is phishing scams,” Wagner said. “Phishing scams are on the rise, especially with COVID last year, people working from home, and all of the stimulus programs, it gave all of these hackers and nefarious actors more reasons to try to contact you and say – hey, we’ve got your stimulus payments, we’ve got unpaid refunds, we’ve got money, or the old thing, you owe us money. They’re always looking to get at you with some alarming message that’s not really from the IRS.”

Another big red flag is a phone call. “The IRS is old school,” said Wagner. “They don’t do phones. They don’t do text messages. They don’t do social media messaging. They don’t do faxes and they’re never going to call you. You will get a letter first if there is a problem. Almost all of the other things are scams, someone trying to say – hey, I want to trick you into paying the bill to somebody else who is not real.”

Ultimately these “Dirty Dozen” scams are about getting your personal information and your money. “The IRS has said multiple times – it’s in the Dirty Dozen list – that they will never ask for money in the form of iTunes gift cards, gift cards, money orders, or Bitcoin,” noted Wagner. “If you get a request for IRS money in iTunes gift cards or Bitcoin just hang up the phone. It’s fraud all day long.”

Wagner said when it comes to avoiding scams, there are some important steps to follow. “Some key takeaways – the IRS will never contact you by phone. If you get a phone call it’s fraud. As we said, don’t send them money. And the IRS will never reach out to you on social media either. Those are guaranteed fraud scams all day long. So wait for that letter in the mail. It probably won’t come and if it does, the first thing you should do – contact your CPA or accountant to get help.”

To see the entire “Dirty Dozen” Scam list, visit irs.gov/newsroom/dirty-dozen.

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