The Internal Revenue Service issued a new warning Friday to taxpayers about potential tax scams during the filing season. These scams can result not only in financial losses but also criminal charges for otherwise innocent Americans who unwittingly participate in illegal activities.
According to a news release on the IRS website, scammers are encouraging filers to falsify Form W-2 wages to file fake returns and claim refunds. The IRS warns that taxpayers who file fake returns face potential penalties and investigations.
This type of scam is not new, but it remains a prevalent and persistent problem during tax season.
Another recent warning from the IRS concerns tax scams circulating on social media.
The agency urges taxpayers to be vigilant and cautious when engaging with social media posts that offer tax-related services or advice, as scammers may use social media to lure unsuspecting taxpayers into giving away personal information or making fraudulent payments.
The IRS advises taxpayers to be wary of any unsolicited communications, including emails, phone calls, and text messages. The agency also reminds taxpayers that it will never contact them through social media or ask for personal or financial information over the phone or by email.
While some tax scams are easy to spot, others can be more subtle and difficult to detect.
One such scam, as reported by The Epoch Times, involves tempting innocent taxpayers into becoming criminals.
Scammers may offer to pay taxpayers to use their bank accounts to receive fraudulent tax refunds. The scammer then withdraws the money and gives a portion of it -- or at least promises to -- to the taxpayer.
This type of scam not only puts innocent taxpayers at risk of criminal charges but also facilitates money laundering and other illegal activities.
The IRS advises taxpayers to be suspicious of any offers to receive payments or refunds from someone else's bank account.
To protect themselves from tax scams, experts say taxpayers should be proactive and take steps to secure their personal and financial information. This includes using strong passwords, keeping software up to date and using secure networks and websites when submitting sensitive information.
In addition, taxpayers should review their credit reports regularly and monitor their bank and credit card statements for any suspicious activity.
If taxpayers suspect that they have been the victim of a tax scam, they should contact the IRS immediately and report the incident to the appropriate authorities.
Tax season can be a vulnerable time for taxpayers, and scammers are constantly coming up with new and creative ways to steal personal and financial information.
By staying vigilant and taking proactive measures, taxpayers can reduce their risk of falling victim to these scams and ensure a safe and secure tax filing experience.
Which probably won't be enough to make it enjoyable -- but at least it will be less unenjoyable than it could be.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.