Money Matters: Beware of tax scams

March 24, 2017 01:30

Sponsored by NEFE

It's tax season, and many people are putting together their paperwork to pay taxes owed or collect their refund. It's also the season for con artists to try to trick you out of your personal information and get their hands on your money. Tax scams abound, ranging from identity theft, to phishing emails, to telephone calls claiming you owe back taxes or threatening to impose penalties. Federal officials say they hear about hundreds of thousands of scam complaints, and millions of dollars have been lost.

As Marketwatch details, there are ways you can protect yourself from these scams. First, know that the IRS would never initiate contact with a taxpayer about a problem by telephone or email. Instead, they always start with a letter, outlining any problems. Phone or email discussions could follow, but they always start with a letter. If you are concerned you might owe back taxes or have other tax problems, contact the IRS or your state tax authorities directly, rather than responding to a suspicious phone call or email. Report suspicious messages and never pay over the phone to someone who calls you, claiming to be a tax official.

To help your listeners/viewers/readers learn more about tax scams, talk with your state's revenue department, or your area's IRS office. They can talk about the most common scams they hear about during tax season, as well as any particular scams making the round right now. They can also offer strategies for people to avoid being scammed and talk about potential warning signs.

Sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education
For more personal finance story ideas, click on the banner below:


Mike Colombo of KMOV-TV entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with a story about hidden differences in health care costs, which can vary widely from hospital to hospital and from insurance plan to insurance plan.