THE WAVE F L O R I D A C R E D I T U N I O N F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 2 Avoiding Tax Scams Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases a list of the most common tax scams: the “Dirty Dozen.” You can visit irs.gov/newsroom/dirty-dozen for more details, but in the meantime, check out a few scams on the rise. Sources: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-dirty-dozen-list-warns-people-to-watch-out-for-tax-related-scams-involving-fake-charities-ghost-preparers-and-other- schemes; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-urges-caution-with-email-social-media-and-phones-as-part-of-dirty-dozen-series Fake charities: Scammers frequently exploit tragedies, setting up fake entities to prey upon the public’s kindness. Typically, scams asking for donations toward disaster relief occur via phone. Taxpayers should research charities prior to contributing, not feeling pushed to give right away, as established charities will be grateful for donations whenever they come through. Unscrupulous tax return preparers: While most tax preparers are trustworthy, be cautious of those who refuse to sign the tax returns they prepare — this is a huge red flag. It is law that anyone paid to prepare federal returns must sign them with their name and Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN), and not doing so could suggest a preparer looking to make undue profit. Social media scams continue: Criminals prowl upon social media accounts and take information to use against individuals, potentially sending messages acting as the victims’ families, friends or peers. These scams can also lead to tax-related identity theft. A scammer may use personal information to send interesting links to individuals, but then the links lead to malware created to carry out more crimes. Be aware of any public information present on personal social media accounts and limit data shared. Impersonator phone calls: Be wary of suspicious phone calls requesting financial information. Voice- related phishing (“vishing”) has increased, especially in fraud dealing with federal tax liens. When receiving random calls, ask questions of the caller, but do not provide personal information. When in doubt... hang up. The IRS typically makes contact first by mail, not phone. For more fraud prevention tips and information, especially advice that may pertain to your Florida Credit Union accounts, please visit flcu.org/efraud-prevention .