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Protect Yourself: New Year, New Tax Season Scams

If you plan on filing your taxes soon, know that 2020 tax scams are already underway. Here’s what you need to know to in order to protect yourself:

The “Canceled” Social Security Number

This involves what sounds like a robo call claiming law enforcement is will suspend or cancel your Social Security number (SSN) as a result of taxes owed. Your SSN never gets suspended. The IRS will only contact you by snail mail or in-person. The caller on the other end of this call is trying to steal your SSN.

The IRS Impersonation Email

The IRS does not contact you by unsolicited email or text or social media. They will never ask you for your SSN or PINs, passwords or other security information. They have other ways of verifying your identity. This is a scam to steal your identity.

The Bureau of Tax Enforcement

Letters from this agency mey look official, but you should know, the Bureau of Tax Enforcement does not exist. Official IRS letters will always have a seal and will bear a letter or notice number. You can also call the IRS directly to verify the information contained within the letter. If you call, do not call the number in the letter as that will connect you to the scammer, look up the official IRS number online and call that number.

The Ghost Tax Preparers

Ghost preparers take money to prepare your taxes but won’t sign the return, so it looks like you did the return yourself. Ghost preparers often lie so you qualify for credits you really don’t and deductions that you shouldn’t and because they don’t sign, you are responsible for the errors. You could have to pay the money back or be audited.

Be Smart! Stay Safe!

Tax scams happen year-round, but are most prevalent at the start of a new year when people begin to file their tax returns. Follow the advice above, be smart and stay safe! become more prevalent in the new year, when people start filing their 2019 returns. If you’re planning to file your taxes soon, follow the advice above to stay safe.

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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!

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