Tax season officially began on Tuesday, January 19, and with the ability to start filing for tax returns, the threat of tax fraud will continue to grow until the season is over. With the growth of technology, scammers continue to find new ways to deceive unsuspecting victims.
When trying to figure out what is legitimate, the Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau advises people to take a good look at where the information is coming from. BBB Regional Director, Sean Spence says, “The IRS is never ever going to phone call you when they are starting a relationship. When they are checking on something you will get a letter in the mail that may go to phone calls or emails or whatever, but they are always going to start out in the mail, [that’s the] number one thing to look out for.”
Scammers especially love targeting older victims who may be more trusting. The state Attorney General’s office says they typically have two approaches. The chief counsel of the agency’s consumer protection division, Joseph Bindbeutel says, “Some of these scammers come with very high pressure tactics, other scammers come with very friendly tactics, ‘Oh I know your daughter, I know your son, or I know your family member.’ And they inculcate some sort of relationship.”
Filing taxes earlier also decreases your chances of tax fraud. The Boone County Sheriff’s department says it is also important that residents file a police report immediately if they believe they are victims of a tax scam.