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Scammers Are Eyeing Your Tax Refund; How to Protect Yourself

Taxpayers lost close to $4.2 million to IRS imposters last year and scammers are reportedly targeting people through texts, emails, and calls.
UPDATED FEB 23, 2024
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Mark Wilson
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Mark Wilson

Tax season is already here and scammers are looking for the perfect opportunity to separate you from your refund. According to FTC, taxpayers lost close to $4.2 million to IRS imposters last year. Scammers are reportedly targeting people through texts, emails, and calls. In one such instance, a person received a fake tax return confirmation. The email looks like it is from the IRS but when one opens the attachment, it tries to get you to sign into an account to confirm your refund. Needless to say, once you log in with your credentials, you will be separated from your money forever.

Different scams work in different ways and therefore, the best way to avoid them is to become more informed about scams. 


"If it's too good to be true, it probably is. A lot of times, you know, people get in hot water, get interact with scammers because they have this incredible guarantee of thousands of dollars in refunds. That's not always going to be the case," said Alyssa Parker with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina, via ABC 11.

 "As the 2024 tax season opens, tax scammers come out of the woodwork. They often start with fear, utilizing imposter phone calls, texts, emails, and phony letters playing on their target's emotions," said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the BBB. This is why it's extremely important to choose the right tax preparer and not be tempted by promises of a big refund.

 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building | Getty Images | Photo by Zach Gibson
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building | Getty Images | Photo by Zach Gibson

According to ABC, a tax preparer at D&V Taxes said that they have been in business for more than 20 years. However, soon after the publication's investigation, the tax preparer faced more than two dozen charges, relating to fraudulent state income tax returns. This is why one should be extra cautious when it comes to tax returns

"It's always incredibly important to make sure that you work with someone that has a good reputation and is around after the tax season. Often that does become an issue if someone just sets up shop and then after the tax season has closed the doors and you never hear from them again," Alyssa Parker added.

Being informed is the only way one can counter these scams. It's important to know that the IRS will never create a sense of urgency and demand the payment right away. The IRS also does not require you to pay a certain way and will never mention how to pay. 


It's also important to remember that scammers are after your personal information as well your money. It's always best to directly head to the official website to check the refund status or anything related to your tax returns. 

IRS has been monitoring the wave of scams that have been happening. According to them, scammers mostly reach out to  taxpayers online and are known to use time-sensitive, aggressive phrases like, "Find out if you're eligible in minutes." 

The scams are getting so out of hand that in 2023, IRS commissioner Daniel Werfel took the call to push back all the new ERC claims till the end of the year. "The IRS is increasingly alarmed about honest small business owners being scammed by unscrupulous actors, and we could no longer tolerate growing evidence of questionable claims pouring in," he said in September 2023.