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Scheming scam artists gear up during tax season

Media contact:

Linda Geist
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-9185
Email: GeistLi@missouri.edu

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Story source:

Andrew Zumwalt, 573-884-1690

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Scam artists can make tax season even more taxing than usual.

Andrew Zumwalt, University of Missouri Extension financial planning specialist, says this is the time of year you should remember the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it is.”

During tax filing season, scam artists are scheming to trick filers, Zumwalt says.

Common schemes include:

-High-priced preparation fees. Preparers may attract new clients with promises of large refunds and then charge inflated fees to file returns that may not be accurate.

-Identity theft. Identity thieves use stolen personal data from returns to apply for loans, charge to your credit card and access your financial accounts. Do not respond to email or phone calls about your return, as the IRS never uses email as a means to contact taxpayers.

-Frivolous claims. Some individuals will make false, outlandish claims that Congress does not have the power to tax individuals.

Zumwalt says you can thwart scam artists by following three important guidelines: 1. You are responsible and liable for the content of your tax return 2. Anyone who promises you a large refund without knowing your tax situation likely is misleading you, and 3. Never sign a return without reviewing it for accuracy.

More information about these and other tax scams is available on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts.

Remember that for the genuine IRS website, be sure to use .gov. Don't be confused by Internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations. Always use .gov.

For more information from MU Extension on taxes and other financial topics, go to www.missourifamilies.org/money.