WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers today to be alert to unscrupulous return preparers touting inflated tax refunds. These scam artists frequently prey on older Americans, low-income taxpayers and others with promises of big refunds.
These refund scams remain on the agency’s annual "Dirty Dozen" list of most prevalent tax scams.
Scam artists pose as tax preparers during tax time, luring victims by promising large federal tax refunds. They use flyers, advertisements, phony storefronts or word of mouth to attract victims. They may even make presentations through community groups or churches.
Scammers frequently prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as those with low incomes or older Americans. They may also prey on non-English speakers who may or may not have a requirement to file a tax return.
Con artists dupe people into making claims for fictitious rebates, benefits or tax credits. They may also file a false return in their client’s name, and the client never knows that a refund was paid.
Scam artists may also victimize those with a filing requirement who are due a refund. They do this by promising larger refunds based on fake Social Security benefits and false claims for education credits or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) among others.