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Scamming the IRS

There must be some substance to the concern about a cyber war. Those that are able to hack into a government web site or utility company must have either a false sense of security or they’re certain they will never be caught. But those that scam the IRS for income tax refunds are in a class by themselves. They’re beating the IRS, the banking system and often living among us.

One scam involves tax preparers. In this this scam, the tax preparer completes the forms, then alters the amount after acquiring a signature. Prior to mailing, the preparer alters the return by increasing the amount of the refund. It may have been $2000, but the preparer tells the victim it’s $1000. After all, who questions a tax preparer? The second part of the scam has the IRS refund deposited directly into the bank account of the preparer. Lesson: IRS refunds are to be made out to you or deposited directly into your account.

Another scam is even more daring. Each year, social security numbers are stolen and a scammer fills out an IRS form and gets the refund. What this means is that the government, the banking system and the internet security systems have all been compromised. In fact, www.irs.gov lists 21 different types of scams on their website.

It’s bad enough that we’re overtaxed. And while some may take comfort in letting an ‘expert’ handle everything, it is prudent to perform your due diligence.

Mark Schuster, Partner

February 19, 2013

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