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New year tax scams to watch out for

Posted: 4:16 PM, Jan 04, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-04 17:24:40-05

While you're trying to stick to your resolutions, scammers are using the new year as a prime time to take your money and personal info. The Better Business Bureau says there are three main tax scams. First, fraudulent filing.

"Fraudulent filing is where somebody gets a piece of your information typically your Social Security number and then files under your Social Security number so when you go to submit your return it's already been filed under that number," says Krista Ferndelli with the Better Business Bureau. "The recommendation is that you file early before a fraudster has a chance to file under your number."

Next scammers try to get you over the phone with a phone call saying you owe the IRS money or they want to submit a refund you never claimed. 

Here is an example of a fake IRS robocall:

"This call is an official final notice from the IRS. The nature and purpose of this call is to inform you we have received official legal petition notice of a tax fraud against you. So before this matter goes to the federal claims courthouse or before you get arrested please call immediately on our department number."

The bottom line is they want a payment method so they can get access to your checking account and money. The BBB says the IRS will only contact you by mail.

The last scam comes in the form of an email. It looks like it came from the IRS but if you click it malware is downloaded on your computer and captures your personal information. Here's the BBB's advice.

"I would recommend that you do not open it or respond to any emails like that and that you actually forward them to the IRS so that they can review it," Ferndelli says.

The Treasury Inspector General estimates since 2013, we've paid more than 50 million dollars to scammers who pretend to be with the IRS. The average tax scam victim gets taken for $5,200.

When it comes to finding a tax preparer this season, the BBB says be wary of any tax prep service that promises larger refunds than the competition, or who base their fee on a percentage of the refund. Also, be wary of refund anticipation loans which can take a good part of your refund in commission.