$4.2M lost to tax scams last year: Tricks scammers use to steal your tax refund

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Tricks scammers use to steal your tax refund
It's the heart of tax season which means scammers are ready to take your refund.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's the heart of tax season which means scammers are ready to take your refund.

This time of year is a gold mine for scammers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, taxpayers lost $4.2 million to IRS imposters last year.

Scammers are targeting taxpayers through email, text, and phone calls.

One scam email that an ABC11 viewer received appeared to be a tax return confirmation. The email looks to be from the IRS, but when you open the attachment it tries to get you to sign into an account to confirm your refund. However, that's just a ruse to get your information.

Other scams on social media also claim you can get a larger refund.

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is. A lot of times, you know, people get in hot water, get interacted with scammers because they have this incredible guarantee of thousands of dollars in refunds. That's not always going to be the case," said Alyssa Parker with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

When it comes to choosing a tax preparer, don't get tempted by promises of a big refund.

Raleigh resident Teresia Porter learned that the hard way.

"When he said 'I can get you a refund,' I was like, well good," Porter recalled. However, it didn't turn out well for Porter.

Last tax season, Troubleshooter Diane Wilson showed you Porter actually did get a big refund. However, the deductions claimed by D&V Taxes in Raleigh turned out to be incorrect. So now, she owes all that money back.

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At the time of our story, a representative with D&V Taxes said it has been in business for 20 years and only filed what the customer provided to them on the intake form.

After our investigation, the tax preparer at D&V Taxes is now facing more than two dozen charges related to preparing fraudulent state income tax returns.

"It's always incredibly important to make sure that you work with someone that has a good reputation and is around after the tax season. Often times that does become an issue if someone just sets up shop and then after the tax season has closed the doors and you never hear from them again," Parker said.

Doing your research during tax season is so crucial.

The key thing to remember is that the IRS does not threaten you and demand payment right away. The IRS also does not require you to pay a certain way like cash apps or wire money, and especially not in gift cards.

Besides your tax refund, scammers are after your personal information to try and file a return and get a refund, so never give personal information to anyone who claims to be with the IRS.

You can also check the status of your refund by clicking here.

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