Treasury reporting an increase in number of tax scam victims

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Tax season is underway and that means, so are scams. The Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York says they’re already receiving reports of attempted scams.

“The Better Business Bureau often times receives a call that someone has received calls from the IRS they don’t know what to do,” said Melanie McGovern, the communications coordinator for the Better Business Bureau.

The Treasury Department reports IRS scams are on the rise. More than 900,000 have been victims, totaling more than $26 million in stolen money.

McGovern says the scams come through different mediums including phone calls, emails and in person.

“The IRS will never call you,” said the communications coordinator. “If you do have an issue with your taxes, you will get a letter in the mail.”

McGovern says if you’re filing your own taxes, make sure you use a secure network on a private computer; don’t use wifi or file from a public work space.

“There have been IRS emails going around, don’t click any of the links.”

If you’re having someone do your taxes for you, make sure they’re up to date on their certifications and licenses; check what they’re charging you; and don’t get the advanced return.

“Instead of losing a few days or weeks, you’ll lose money so it’s always good to wait it out and get the check right from the IRS.”

McGovern says the elderly are main targets for these scams.

“They aren’t as tech savvy and aren’t up to date about what’s going on online,” said McGovern on why senior citizens are frequently targets. “Scammers see them as targets, unfortunately. So we try to do everything we can.”

It can happen to anyone though and that’s why McGovern says it’s important to ask questions and don’t ever give out personal information to someone you don’t know over the phone.

“People call and tell us about that stuff,” said McGovern. “Then we tell them to reach out to the proper authorities.”

 


If you want to learn more about the scam tracker or find information about a business you might be using to file taxes, you can go to the Better Business Bureau’s website here.

 

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