The Dirty Dozen tax scams: Identity theft, phone scams and phishing schemes, oh my!


old_man_piggy_bank.jpgIt’s that time of the year again – tax season is upon us.

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service wrapped up its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams. This year, identity theft topped the list, but phone scams and phishing schemes also deserve special mentions. It’s important that taxpayers guard against ploys to steal their personal information, scam them out of money or talk them into engaging in questionable behavior with their taxes. While discussing the topic of tax scams, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said:

“We are working hard to protect taxpayers from identity theft and other scams this filing season. . .Taxpayers have rights and should not be frightened into providing personal information or money to someone over the phone or in an email. We urge taxpayers to help protect themselves from scams — old and new.”

In addition to releasing the “Dirty Dozen” list, the IRS has also renewed a consumer alert for email schemes. This renewal came after seeing an approximate 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far this tax season.

We encourage taxpayers to review the list in a special section on and be on the lookout for the many different forms of tax scams. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so.

Taking a closer look at this year’s “Dirty Dozen” scams

Here‘s what you should keep your eyes open for throughout this tax season:

Identity theft: Taxpayers need to watch out for identity theft — especially around tax time. The IRS continues to aggressively pursue the criminals that file fraudulent returns using someone else’s Social Security number. Though the agency is making progress on this front, taxpayers still need to be extremely careful and do everything they can to avoid being victimized.

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