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Tip of the Week

Tax Scams

Did you know that the IRS will never call you demanding immediate payment of taxes owed without sending you a letter first? Many people have trouble filing their income taxes and/or dread filing their taxes when they will owe money to the IRS. Unfortunately, scammers prey on this uncertainty and financial vulnerability during tax time.

Each year the IRS puts out a list of the most common tax scams that target taxpayers nationwide. Here are a few of the more common ones from their Dirty Dozen list:

Phone Scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remains an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
 
Phishing: Taxpayers need to be on guard against fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will not send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue. Don’t click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise. Taxpayers should be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites. They may be scams to steal your personal information.
 
Identity Theft: Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. This could also include illegally using a child’s social to claim a dependency or using deceased person’s social to claim a refund.

Below are some tips on ways you can protect yourself this tax season:
o    Mail in your tax return as early as possible to bet the cons to it
o    Don’t give out personal information unless you know who’s asking for it and why they need it
o    Shred personal and financial documents, and save your tax documents in a safe spot
o    Go to a reputable tax prepare
o    Check the status of your refund after filing at irs.gov/Refunds

Also keep in mind the IRS does NOT:
o    Call to demand immediate payment without first notifying you by mail
o    Ask for credit card numbers over the phone
o    Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to arrest you for nonpayment

Click here for information from the FTC on avoiding tax scams, including where to go if you become a victim. Safe filing!

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Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (or MCUCD) is the award-winning, charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network. A state-wide nonprofit organization, MCUCD works together with the state's credit unions to improve the lives and financial independence of all Montanans.