March 23, 2024

Tax season is in full swing — and that means scammers are on the prowl.

Tax scams typically ramp up early in the year when taxpayers start filing their returns to the IRS. (Tax season started Feb. 12.) They also flare up during times of crisis, like the Covid pandemic, according to the federal agency.

Con artists may be more active this year relative to past tax-filing windows, exacerbated by the season’s delayed start, experts said.

“It’s like the perfect storm we’re dealing with right now,” said Howard Silverstone, a forensic accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ fraud task force.

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Much of the fraud typically involves identity theft, according to tax experts. In such cases, a criminal might steal personal information to file a fake tax return and collect your refund.   

Taxpayers may also unwittingly supply personal data to criminals who falsely claim they can help collect stimulus checks, according to the IRS. Congress is aiming to pass a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that includes $1,400 stimulus checks by mid-March.

“Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams,” according to the IRS.

More than 89,000 Americans filed a complaint with the Federal Trade…

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