(MENAFN- ValueWalk) With the New Year approaching, the IRS has warned about holiday scams that try to take advantage of the“season of giving.” The agency recommends taxpayers and tax professionals take extra steps to protect their financial and tax information during the holiday season.
How to identify scams
Earlier this week, the IRS, in partnership with the Security Summit partners, kicked off the 8th National Tax Security Awareness Week, informing taxpayers and tax professionals of the ongoing scams and ways to avoid them.
“Protecting taxpayers is an important priority for the IRS, and the National Tax Security Awareness Week provides helpful information to taxpayers to help us in the ongoing battle against identity thieves,” the agency said in a press release .
The agency noted that during this time of the year, people are more at risk of identity theft as hackers ramp up their efforts to trick people into sharing their sensitive personal information.
Scammers use email, text messages and social media to trick users into revealing their sensitive personal information. They then use that information to file false tax returns and steal refunds.
As for ways to identify holiday scams, the agency said that such scams are often riddled with spelling errors and awkward phrasing. Also, these scams consistently encourage people to click on a link. The IRS urges people to never click on links from questionable sources and report scams to
[email protected] .
The agency clarified that it doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers – through email, text or social media – to request personal or financial information.
Common holiday scams
Talking about common holiday scams, the IRS says scammers use email and text messages that promise tax refunds or offer assistance to address issues to ramp up the refund process. Also, the agency cleared that there are no special links or websites to expedite your refund.
Another common scam is enticing people with another round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) or stimulus checks. The agency notes that it regularly receives complaints of messages luring people with the promise of a new stimulus check and encouraging them to click on an embedded URL link, which takes them to a phishing website.
The IRS cleared that no new stimulus check has been approved, but people can still claim refunds related to previously unclaimed checks. Those who didn't receive their stimulus checks, or received the wrong amount, or a partial amount, can still claim the stimulus check by filing for the Recovery Rebate Credit .
Also, the IRS mentioned holiday scams where people receive emails and messages asking them to claim their tax refund online or telling them there is an issue with a particular tax return.
The IRS also reminds people of tax-related gift card scams. According to the agency, it doesn't accept gift cards as payment, and it never threatens taxpayers with lawsuits, arrests or deportation.
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