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Tax season brings out scammers. Watch for these red flags.


This tax season, officials are warning consumers to protect themselves from the IRS imposter scam and the W-2 phishing scam. Both can happen to anyone in any workplace - even the Arizona Attorney General's Office. "This literally happened to me at our office just a couple of weeks ago," Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told 3 On Your Side.

"Someone will pretend they're you and they'll contact your HR," he explained. "They need information right away, maybe a bank statement or direct deposit statement for the W-2. Someone in HR will send it off, and now the crook has all that information."

According to the IRS, some companies have even mistakenly handed over employees' W-2 forms, which include important personal information like Social Security numbers and home addresses. Once criminals have details, the IRS says they might immediately try to file fraudulent tax returns to claim refunds. They also might use the stolen Social Security numbers to commit other crimes.

Brnovich said there are obvious red flags. "Whenever you get an email, one of the first things I would tell someone to do is look at the address. Look at who it's coming from," he said. "For example, when someone pretended like they were me, the name actually said my name, but if you looked at the actual email address, it was something very different."

Other red flags in a W-2 scam email include misspellings or typos, a generic greeting, and a sense of urgency. The scammers are trying to make their victims respond quickly.

"The bottom line is if you get an unsolicited email from anyone asking you for your or someone else's personal or financial information, it is either a scam or it's malware," Brnovich said. "Don't open it. Don't send them anything."

The IRS imposter scam -- when somebody claiming to be from the IRS calls or writes you and demands payment -- also remains an issue. The IRS is reminding consumers that it will never call taxpayers, and it will never threaten jail time.
Form 1099-G Tax Information is available online
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Friday, 24 May 2024

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