BBB warns of tax season scams - - Jackson, MS

BBB warns of tax season scams

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With the start of tax season kicking off, the Better Business Bureau Serving Mississippi is warning of a new tax refund scam.

CEO John O’Hara said the scam involves people getting unsolicited emails that appear to be from a legitimate company.

“Some people say here’s your W-2, so you go ahead and file your taxes and people are excited and they want to see how much money they get back,” said O’Hara said.” So, they start to get emails and people click on them. It’s a link with a virus on it and then that sends out to your contacts and that may even be an attempt to steal your personal information.”

O’Hara said if someone in your contacts opens the email and clicks the link, the virus can continue spreading to other people they know and the potential for personal information to be stolen grows.

This is not the only scam that goes around during tax time, O’Hara also warned of an IRS scam in which scammers reach out to people via phone and claim there was an issue with your tax return for the previous year and they request a payment before you can proceed with filing your taxes.

O’Hara said the sooner you can file your taxes, the better.

He stated that after so many data breaches last year, including the Equifax data breach, the possibility of people accessing your personal information is greater. 

“They can file tax returns with your information and get your return before you ever go online to file your taxes yourself,” added O’Hara. “We’re going to start seeing people who are going to complain when they go to file their tax return, that their records are going to get flagged because it’s showing a return has already been done or their children have been claimed by somebody else.”

If you think you may be a victim of fraud, O’Hara said it’s important to report it to the IRS immediately.

“You’ll want to get a police report and contact social security to put a freeze on your social security card so that people don’t start opening lines of credit,” said O’Hara. “You really want to make sure that your information at this time of the year is very secure.”

Problems with tax returns don’t only happen to people who choose to file online, O’Hara said some people may encounter issues at certain tax-preparation businesses that only pop up during certain times of the year.

“Some people leave their information and come back to the same spot, if they do have a problem, they can always get in touch with them,” O’Hara said. “Other people do one tax season, people have a problem with the return and can’t get in touch with them, the people have taken their information.”

O’Hara said taxpayers should make sure they’re doing business with qualified professionals that properly handle documents with your personal information and to negotiate how much you’ll be paying to file your taxes upfront.

He also warned against going to places that offer patrons a loan on their tax returns.

He said those loans often come with high interest rates of up to 25% and it’s better to wait a little longer and be able to keep your full return. 

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