Arizona Attorney General Issues Consumer Advisory on Tax Season Scams
With tax season upon us, Attorney General Kris Mayes is reminding the public to be aware to be aware of tax-related scams. Criminals prey on those who are stressed about paying taxes or afraid of the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). Often, these scams include stealing sensitive information or filing fraudulent tax returns.
“Beware of unsolicited phone calls or emails claiming to be from the IRS and threatening action,” said Attorney General Mayes. “Remember that the IRS will never call, email or text you out of the blue to demand immediate payment. Simply hang up and contact the IRS directly using information from the official IRS website. Stay vigilant and protect your personal and financial information from scammers.”
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from tax season scams:
- If you think you might owe money to the IRS, you can check that directly for free with the IRS by visiting http://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account.
- If you are curious about the state of your return, use the IRS’ Where’s My Refund? tool.
- Never click on links or open attachments in emails claiming to be from the IRS. Forward the emails to [email protected].
- Do not fall for pressure tactics or threats. Scammers often use intimidating language, threaten legal action including threats of arrest by law enforcement or immigration action in order to pressure you into paying false tax debts or to provide your personal information. The IRS will never threaten to revoke your driver’s license, business license, immigration status, or Social Security number.
- Do not pay using a pre-paid gift card or pre-paid debit card. The IRS will never request or demand you to use a pre-paid gift card or debit card to pay your taxes.
- Do not give out personal information. The IRS does not ask for passwords, PINS, or confidential personal information like credit card, bank, or account information by email, text, letter, or social media.
- File your tax return as quickly as possible. Tax identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return; the sooner you file, the less likely it is someone can use your information.
- Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically, or mail your tax return directly from the post office.
- Use a reputable tax preparer if you plan on having someone else do your taxes. Research and make sure your tax preparer has the proper credentials. Make sure you understand all fees that may be applicable for any services. Review the tax return before signing and submitting to ensure the numbers are correct. Ask any preparer to sign the return and list their preparer tax identification number (PTIN). The IRS maintains a searchable directory of preparers with professional credentials or qualifications. For more information, see the Arizona Department of Revenue or IRS guidance on selecting a tax preparer.
If you believe a tax preparer has acted improperly, visit the IRS website for more information on when and how to make a complaint about a tax return preparer.
If you have been a victim of an IRS impersonation scam, report it online or call 1-800-366-4484. If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.