5 Ways to Avoid Tax Scams

Published On:
March 04, 2022

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Tax season can be a stressful time of the year, and unfortunately, some fraudsters take advantage of people filing federal and state taxes. Your best weapon to combat tax scams is your own common sense. If you are ever in doubt of sincerity, contact the IRS or your state taxing authority directly. Here are five ways to protect yourself against tax scams.

1. Use caution on the phone.

The IRS will never call, email, or contact you via social media to collect money. If someone is reaching out through these means stating they are from the IRS, do not respond in any way. If the IRS is contacting you, their first contact will always be with a letter. Don’t give any information to anyone contacting you from these other methods and certainly don’t send them any money.

2. File early.

By filing your taxes early, you can get your refund faster and have more time to ask questions. Filing early also makes it more difficult for someone to file a phony return and claim a refund in your name.

3. Beware of phishing.

Phishing is a scam where a thief pretends to be a legitimate company and tries to collect your personal information, usually through email. Be careful about sharing any personal information with someone who contacts you via email. Always take steps to verify identity before communicating via email or clicking any links. Some of these steps include: looking closely at the sender's email, researching the subject line and email to see if it’s been reported with fraud, and calling the actual place to ensure it was sent by them.

4. Protect your computer and yourself.

Make sure that your computer is protected by using a long, complex password both on your device and for any programs you may use. Use different passwords on important websites to further protect yourself. Investing in computer anti-virus software and identity protection is another great way to stay one step ahead. One of Arbor Financial's member benefits is affordable identity protection through ID Protect.

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5. Be wary of phony charities.

A growing number of tax scams are related to phony organizations soliciting help for victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters, including pandemics. Always do your research into the charity before donating.

Filing taxes can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be; Arbor Financial is here to help you file and get the best refund possible. During tax season, enjoy TurboTax ®and H&R block ® discounts just for being an Arbor Financial member. Be sure to check out our free Level Up courses year-round to keep your financial knowledge sharp.

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