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IRS Issues New Warning Ahead of Tax Deadline - You Could Lose Your Tax Refund

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The Internal Revenue Service is warning Americans that tax scams multiply in the weeks prior to the federal income tax filing deadline.

One scam to avoid is the one in which a scam artist tries to convince a taxpayer that he or she has the expertise needed to set up an online account at IRS.gov, according to a release on the IRS website.

“This is just a scam to obtain valuable and sensitive tax information that scammers will use to try stealing a refund,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said.

“An Online Account at IRS.gov can help taxpayers view important details about their tax situation. But scammers are trying to convince people they need help setting up an account. In reality, no help is needed,” Werfel said.

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“People should be wary and avoid sharing sensitive personal data over the phone, email or social media to avoid getting caught up in these scams,” he said.

The IRS said scammers seek personal information such as a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number and some kind of photo identification. This information can be used to file taxes or open credit accounts or sold.

As tax season crunch time nears, the IRS also offered hints about avoiding scams that steal personal information using scam emails or text messages. The IRS warned of scams that are either phishing or smishing.

Phishing takes place when an email is received from a bogus organization claiming to be the IRS or another part of the government. The hook to click on whatever link is sent is either the promise of a refund or a threat of tax fraud charges.

Smishing is essentially the same thing except it relies on messages to a phone that use language such as “Your account has now been put on hold,” or “Unusual Activity Report.”

The IRS is also warning that some third parties are telling Americans wrongly that they can claim a fuel credit set aside for off-road businesses or farmers.

“In this scam, a third party convinces a taxpayer to fraudulently claim the credit with promises of a windfall refund. But the promoters are focused on their own gain, taking advantage of the taxpayer with inflated fees, refund fraud and identity theft,” the IRS said.

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The Washington Examiner noted another scam in which Facebook users are urged to click on the ad to learn about a so-called health credit. However, no such thing exists.

Another scam was reported on Optima Tax Relief.

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“COVID-19 stimulus checks have stopped being sent out, but scammers are still sending malicious text messages, phone calls, and emails to request bank account information. They lead you to believe you will receive a new stimulus check, when really they are stealing your personal and financial information,” the site warned.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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