Tax Transcript Email Scam
Scammers claiming to be from IRS Online are sending fraudulent email messages about tax transcripts. A transcript is a summary of your tax return. You may need a tax transcript to apply for a loan or for government assistance.
To avoid tax transcript scams, learn the real way to get a tax transcript from the IRS.
Youre Charged With Tax Fraud Now What
Here are straightforward tips to avoid headlines and resolve the charges of tax fraud:
Of course, the best way to avoid a tax controversy is to ensure that you meet FBAR and foreign bank account reporting guidelines, pay your taxes, and work with best-in-class accountants and tax preparers. When there are issues or a tax crime allegation is pendingcontact a tax attorney with the defense experience you need to keep you from career or reputational damage, financial loss, or prison.
What Exactly Is Tax Fraud
Tax fraud is more than just a mistake it is a willful attempt to get out of tax obligations. The key to a tax fraud claim is that the person accused of the crime willfully or intentionally committed acts to avoid paying taxes. Examples include failing to file an income tax return or preparing a false return.
Although the penalty for a simple mistake may seem severe, those that apply in cases of a tax fraud conviction are even more severe. A failure to file can come with up to one-year imprisonment and a monetary penalty of $100,000, while an attempt to evade taxes can come with up to five-years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
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How Tax Transcript Scams Work
The scam works this way: you get an email with the words tax transcripts in the subject line. The email has an attachment named Tax Account Transcript or something similar. Dont open this attachment. Its malware known as Emotet that can infect your computer network and steal personal and business information.
The IRS will never call, email, or text you asking for your tax information. It will also not send you a message with an attachment asking you to log in to get a tax transcript or update your profile.
What To Do If You Think Someone Stole Your Tax Refund
Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit right away at 800-908-4490. Create a file with every piece of paperwork you can get your hands on, dating back several years, to help prove you are who you say you are. File a police report and an IRS ID Theft Affidavit Form 14039. Be patient. Your refund will be delayed, and if that delay causes you financial hardship, you can appeal through the IRS Taxpayer Advocate office.
Once you’ve taken this first step, here are some other things to do if you’re a victim of tax identity theft:
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Monitor Future Tax Preparation
To ease the burden of tax preparation, you may opt to hire someone else to prepare and file your tax return. Since these people have access to confidential information, do your due diligence to make sure they are qualified for the role. Qualified tax preparers include attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and enrolled agents, retirement plan agents and actuaries.
All should have a Tax Preparation Identification Number and be willing to sign your tax forms. Qualified agents will also use the IRS e-file system and provide you with a final copy of your submitted return.
Do Your Returns Yourself Or Have A Cpa Do It For You
Its possible that your tax information could be compromised by a fly-by-night tax-preparation service. Identity theft is often an inside job undertaken by trusted employees to protect your information. If this is a concern, either prepare your tax returns yourself or hire a reputable CPA to do it for you.
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How To Find Out If Someone Stole Your Tax Return
The IRS takes less than 21 days to process refund checks for nine out of ten tax filings. Early e-filers who claimed their Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit may expect their refund by March.
Has it been over six weeks since you filed your paper return or 21 days since your e-filing? Consider reaching the IRS phone or walk-in representatives. If not, follow these steps before you request a refund trace:
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Can The Irs Tell You Who Claimed You
If so, you need to know the IRS is prohibited from telling you who claimed your dependent. Due to federal privacy laws, the IRS can only disclose the return information if the victims name and SSN are listed as either the primary or secondary taxpayer on the fraudulent return.
How do you put a lock on your Social Security number?
To lock your Social Security number, visit the U.S. governments myE-Verify website and complete the necessary steps online. Youll need to enter your personal data, take a quiz, enter document data, and then get your results, says Katie Gampietro Burke, CFP and founder of Wealth by Empowerment.
Can someone steal my tax refund?
Fortunately, you can protect yourself against tax-related identity theft, a crime in which scammers use your personal information, including your Social Security number, to file an income-tax return in your name. The goal of these scammers is to steal your tax refund.
How do I find out if someone has filed a tax return?
If you suspect that a tax return has been filed in your name, your best strategy for resolving this issue is to contact the IRS directly. IRS officials can review the current status of your tax return to determine whether or not someone has already filed a return using your identity.
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How Does The Irs Determine Tax Fraud
The IRS defines tax fraud as “the willful and material submission of false statements or false documents in connection with an application and/or return.” To make this determination, investigators will look for any indicators of fraud such as, but not limited to:
- Underreporting income
- Using a false Social Security number
- Falsifying documents
- Intentionally failing to pay taxes
If these common indicators are absent, the IRS typically assumes that an unintentional mistake has occurred due to negligence. Though this typically does not lead to criminal charges for tax fraud, mistakes with your taxes can lead to an accuracy-related penalty that equates to 20 percent of the underpayment.
Anyone could be caught off guard when they are assessed this penalty, which is why it’s important to make sure all tax information is accurate and truthful before submitting it to the IRS. It’s also important to remember your right to an attorney as well, especially if you believe a tax fraud charge has been levied against you in error.
How To Protect Yourself From Tax Id Theft
- Protect your personal information and that of your dependents.
- Do not give out your SSN unless theres a good reason and youre sure who you are giving it to and how they will protect it.
- File your tax return as early as you can.
- If you file electronically, use a secure internet connection.
- If filing by mail, send your tax return directly from the post office.
- Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over your personal information and never send your personal information in a text or email.
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What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it for their financial gain. This could include stealing your name, address, social security number, driver’s license information, online account information, etc., and using it to fraudulently do any number of financial activities. They might take over your financial accounts, take out loans or open credit cards in your name, commit medical insurance fraud or file for unemployment in your name.
A Nationwide Tax Fraud Seminar Scheme
Though most of them today have gone virtual for the time being, seminars are a great way to experience interactive learning on a topic, hosted by a dynamic speaker. Unfortunately, there’s always that little nugget of uncertainty going into oneyou never know if it’s being run by scammers just look getting to rich while committing fraud at the expense of trusting people.
Recently, one such seminar came to an end. Several individuals plead guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. by promoting a nationwide tax fraud scheme through seminars they hosted across the country. They also plead guilty to preparing and filing false tax returns for the individuals they recruited into the scheme. The most recent to plead guilty in this case is Mehef Bey.
From the Department of Justice Release:
As part of his plea, Bey admitted he and his co-conspirators charged their clients approximately $10,000 to $15,000 in preparation fees for each tax return. Although Bey personally received more than $1 million for his role in the scheme, he did not file tax returns for the years 2015 and 2016 to report this income. For 2014, Bey filed a false income tax return on which he claimed a tax refund that he was not entitled to receive. On this return, he also did not report his income from promoting the scheme.
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Window To Submit Fake Tax Returns
Taxpayers can file tax returns and claim refunds as soon as they receive W-2 or W-9 forms that show the income earned and the amount of taxes withheld. Employers have until January 31st after the tax year ends to issue W-2 forms.
However, employers have until the end of March to file that W-2 information with the IRS. Because tax refunds may be issued before employer W-2 information is received and verified by the IRS, fraudsters potentially have a two-month window to submit fake tax returns. And a refund can be sent to any address or account the fraudster specifies. All of this occurs without the taxpayers knowledge.
KNOW THIS: You do not need to make a lot of money or have a large refund due to be a target for tax-related ID theft. Tax ID scammers try to stay under IRS radar and therefore, they tend to keep their claims under $4,000.00.
Keep Your Tax Information Under Lock And Key
Your home or office could have been where the identity thief got your information. Your income tax returns, and any documents that include your Social Security number or other sensitive information, should be kept to a minimum and under lock and key. Never store essential documents in a place where anyone can get them. If you have any other concerns regarding tax fraud or anything else in the realm of taxes, read our complete Tax Guide.
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Did You Enter Your Dependents Information Correctly
If so, you need to know the IRS is prohibited from telling you who claimed your dependent. Due to federal privacy laws, the IRS can only disclose the return information if the victims name and SSN are listed as either the primary or secondary taxpayer on the fraudulent return. For this reason, the IRS cannot disclose return information to any person listed only as a dependent.
If you dont know anyone who could have claimed the dependent, your dependent may be a victim of identity theft. See The Taxpayer’s Guide to Identity Theft for steps you may take if you feel you or your dependents identity has been stolen.
Using the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov, verify you meet the requirements to claim the dependent. Once you verify another person was not eligible to claim your dependent, youll need to take steps to protect your right to claim the dependent and ensure an accurate filing.
What Other Ways Can Donotpay Help With Identity Theft
DoNotPay can help with more than just unemployment fraud. Identity theft may also appear in other ways, such as , social security fraud, hacked accounts, or even someone stealing your stimulus check. Whatever issues you are having due to identity theft, DoNotPay can walk you through the steps to start the recovery process.
What Else Can DoNotPay do?
DoNotPay has a variety of services that help you solve legal problems, save money and resolve issues. We can help you with Small Claims Court or a variety of other services, including:
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Protect Your Identity Against Tax Scammers
If someoneâs stolen your identity, youâll want to protect yourself, your business, and your financial accounts from any more damage.
What Should I Do If I Think Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
If you think someone is using your Social Security number , there are several actions you can take.
- Review the earnings posted to your record on your Social Security Statement and report any inconsistencies to us.
- Contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-908-4490 or visit them online, if you believe someone is using your SSN to work, get your tax refund, or other abuses involving taxes.
- Order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus . Make a single request for all three credit bureau reports at Annual Credit Report Request Form, or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
- File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
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Keep Your Identity Safe
If you use an online application to do your taxes, you can now log in with your username, password and a third personal item like a phone number. Using all 3 will keep your identity and data safer.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund.
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.
Check Your Other Accounts
After you inform the IRS and credit bureaus about the identity theft, study your online bank and credit card accounts. The same criminal who used your personal information to file a tax return in your name might also use it to access your online credit card portal and your online bank accounts. Look for any suspicious charges or withdrawals on these accounts.
While youre at it, you may want to check if your bank or credit card provides alerts for each time your account is accessed, or if you can set up two-factor authentication, for an added layer of protection.
If you find suspicious charges, notify your bank and credit card providers. They can close off your accounts to protect you from future suspicious activity. The faster you report fraudulent charges or transactions, the more likely it is that you wont have to pay for them.
Check these accounts daily. If you ever see suspicious activity, contact your credit card provider and bank immediately.
You should also order copies of your three credit reports one each maintained by the national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion from AnnualCreditReport.com. During normal times, you can order each of these reports at no charge once a year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, though, the credit bureaus are allowing consumers to order their credit reports for free once every week.
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Protect Your Information From Scammers Online And On Your Phone
If you use tax preparation software like TurboTax, TaxAct, or TaxSlayer, use multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication offers extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories: something you have like a passcode you get via text message or an authentication app, or something you are like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.
Dont give your personal information to someone who calls, emails, or texts and says theyre with the IRS. It could be a scammer impersonating the IRS to steal your information or money. If you need to contact the IRS, call them at 1-800-829-1040.
Why Should I Use Donotpay To Assist With Unemployment Fraud
If someone has filed for unemployment in your name or committed other forms of identity theft, the recovery process can be lengthy and frustrating. DoNotPay makes the process:
|Fast||You don’t have to spend hours trying to solve the issue.|
|Easy||You don’t have to struggle to fill out tedious forms or keep track of all the steps involved in solving your problem.|
|Successful||You can rest assured knowing we’ll make the best case for you.|
We save you time and stress by filing the reports on your behalf and making the best case for you. We will walk you through the process and support you each step of the way so that you can return to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible.
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