NEW YORK, March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- MyChargeBack, the world leader in fund recovery for victims of online scams, is warning the public about the proliferation of tax scams in advance of the upcoming deadlines in filing tax returns.
"Tax season is here and tax scammers are here too," states Michael Cohen, MyChargeBack's Vice President of Operations. "There are many types of tax scams, however, so taxpayers have to keep their guard up."
Tax Collector Impersonation Scams
"One common type of tax scam involves impersonators who either call taxpayers or knock on the door and say they're from the IRS," Cohen notes. "They will typically claim that the individual owes back taxes and, if the funds are not transferred immediately – usually by bank wire or in the form of gift cards – they will face arrest," he adds. According to FBI statistics, these sorts of extortion scams rose year-by-year by a whopping 242% through 2019.
MyChargeBack reminds taxpayers that IRS agents never phone or show up unannounced on your doorstep, make a house call to demand an outstanding payment and most certainly never ask for payment via a bank wire or gift card. "That's a red flag for a scam," Cohen says.
Tax Phishing Scams
Another dangerous tax scam is spread via phishing. The IRS reported a 60% increase in such scams in 2018. Scammers send email, SMS texts and social media messaging to potential victims urging them to file their tax returns over a spoofed web site that looks identical to the official one of a relevant tax authority. "That's why it's easy to be fooled, and that's why this is a particularly effective scam," Cohen states. "The scammers will then use that personal information to file tax returns in the victim's name and pocket the refund themselves."
Social Security Scams
Remarkably, the number of Social Security scams in the U.S. now surpasses that of IRS scams. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2018, for example, $19 million was reported lost to Social Security Administration imposters. That figure, by the way, compared with the $17 million reported lost to IRS imposters in 2016, the peak year of the IRS scam to date.
The scams, however, are quite similar. The scammers tell their potential victims that their Social Security cards and accounts will be suspended or cancelled unless overdue taxes are paid. "Don't be fooled into believing this is a possibility, even if the caller has your personal information," Cohen warns. "Scammers have ways to capture your Social Security number and you can safely write this threat off as a total scam."
Avoiding Tax Scams
"The best way to avoid falling victim to any sort of tax scam is to remain on the alert for them," Cohen advises. "Be aware that scammers prey on the anxiety and urgency that taxpayers can experience as they rush to file their returns on time," he concludes. "And most importantly, don't rush into complying with a tax-related demand that someone you don't know may unexpectedly spring on you this time of year."
MyChargeBack.com is a global leader in fund recovery services. Working with over 750 banks worldwide, it has retrieved millions of dollars for clients in more than 150 countries. These cases typically involve authorized card-not-present transactions for goods or services that were not delivered as contracted. Founded in 2016, MyChargeBack is owned and operated by Cactil LLC, a Delaware corporation.
Reuben Eliaz, Media Relations Manager