NC Attorney General warns of tax scams ahead of filing deadline
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s never a time where people shouldn’t be weary of scammers hoping to take advantage of them but there are several times throughout the year that certain scams become a bigger threat. As the April 18 tax deadline approaches NC Attorney General Josh Stein wants North Carolinians to be on the lookout for tax-related scams.
“Each year, my office hears complaints from people fighting off scammers while filing their taxes. These scams put people’s money and identity at risk, but my office is here to help,” Stein said in a press release.
Filing taxes can be challenging and when it comes to the IRS ensuring your taxes are properly prepared can save you from a cumbersome audit. It’s also the time of year that people receive tax refunds and the influx of money coming back to taxpayers can be a target for those looking to separate them from their money.
When it comes to personal information, Stein warns folks to be vigilant in protecting things like social security numbers.
“Scammers often pose as IRS agents to phish for your information. But remember, the IRS will never initiate contact with you over the phone or by email to ask you for personal information or money. If you receive a call or email from somebody claiming to be with the IRS, it is likely a scam. Always ask a caller for their name or identification number. Then, hang up, look up the agency’s telephone number on a government website, and call them directly,” he said.
That refund check can come as a major windfall for people and waiting on the government to mail out checks or direct deposit can lead some to seek out a faster option. Stein said these advanced refunds can really take a hit on refund checks.
“Some tax preparers and banks offer a refund anticipation check (RAC). This is a paid service for taxpayers who don’t have a bank account to use for direct deposit of their refund, or who don’t have the money to pay for tax preparation assistance,” Stein said. “There’s a fee (typically about $30) to set up the RAC system. The preparer deducts that fee, their tax preparation charges, and other fees from the eventual refund. After all that, there may not be much of your actual refund left.”
If taxpayers find themselves in a situation where they’ve been scammed, or even think they have been, Stein’s office can help.
“Taxes can be stressful, but they don’t have to be dangerous. By staying vigilant and taking these necessary precautions, you can protect yourself from these threats. If you believe you have been the victim of a tax scam, contact my office at 877-5-NOSCAM or file a complaint online at https://ncdoj.gov/complaint,” he said.
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