Iowans who’ve already filed their tax returns are being warned about a scam email that appears to be from the I.R.S. Jim Hegerty, with the Better Business Bureau, says the message claims there was a problem with your return and it’s impossible for your refund check to be mailed out.
“In order to learn more about that, you need to click on a link which could lead you to a number to call or they may tell you there’s an additional fee you need to pay where you need to give a credit card,” Hegerty says. “It may simply allow the people that sent the phishing email the opportunity to get access to your computer.”
The I.R.S. does not contact taxpayers by email to ask for personal or financial information and that includes any type of electronic communication, like text messages or social media. Plus, he says, you don’t need a middle man.
“Anyone can call the IRS and anyone can negotiate some sort of a remedy in terms of their tax bill,” Hegerty says. “A lot of times, the bad operators will lead you to believe they’ve developed some intimate relationships with the I.R.S. that you could never do on your own. We find there isn’t really anything they are doing that you couldn’t do for yourself at no charge.”
Be careful when selecting a tax preparer, Hegerty says, especially if there are outrageous claims. “If people are making promises where they guarantee they’ll find things that others can’t find, those are red flags,” he says.
“People that are asking you to pay big fees in order to get your return immediately in some sort of a loan fashion, those are things you also want to be concerned about.” If you end up owing the I.R.S. money, he says don’t fall for tax relief companies that vow to get you a reduction or debt forgiveness.
The I.R.S. does offer several options but total forgiveness is very rare.