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Michele J. Gaines

Enrolled Agent

 Federally Licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury in Federal Taxation

Article Published in the November-December, 2015 Edition of Pittsburgh Avenue West Magazine

Tax Season….The Shopping, The Scammers & You!: Protect Yourself from Fraud, Schemes & Scams

by Michele J. Gaines, B.A.C.P. EA 

While ID Theft remains at the top of the list for tax fraud, there are many other ways that scammers use to get your money. Protection starts with you. The number one tax fraud is refund fraud. It starts with getting your personal information during the shopping seasons.

Tax Refunds are not a mystery since if you do nothing at all within a calendar year except collect a paycheck, you will probably get a tax refund. However, as you are planning that refund, someone else is planning to take it. Be mindful as you shop and avoid becoming a victim. 

Tax Schemes are also on the rise since they give false promises of “free money” resulting from inflated refunds. However, the most pervasive crime at present, is the Tax Scam resulting from emails and phone impersonators. These callers make demands for money or, state you have a refund that is due. They sound convincing since they have had a lot of practice and by the time they get to your call, their confidence over the phone escalates because, if it works, you have just become their latest victim. Listen for the warning signs. A caller is fake when they demand immediate payment; offer no appeal rights to their demand; require a specific payment method; ask for a credit card over the phone; and threaten law enforcement or jail for not paying. It’s all a scam since IRS will never use any of these methods to communicate with you or resolve a tax liability. If you have received one of these calls, call Jackson Gaines.

Michele is a federally licensed tax professional, admitted to practice with unlimited rights of representation before IRS.