Consumer experts warn of tax schemes

Warning about new tax schemes

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - New tax schemes are popping up this month almost as fast as you can file your returns and consumer experts want you to be on alert.

“Scammers take any opportunity to capitalize where money can be made and certainly with taxes they have that opportunity,” said Garet Smitherman, VP Operations BBB.

People get creative every year with how they can get their hands on your refund. Consumer experts say be ready for some of the old schemes to pop up again - like harassing phone calls from fake government agents demanding tax return payments.

Also, beware of tax preparers who will file your return, but you won’t see a dime or won’t be able to find them if you need help.

“A lot of these tax preparers don’t operate year round,” said Smitherman. “Is the person who prepared your taxes going to answer the phone 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 months from now when you need their help.”

Before someone does your taxes, make sure you ask for their Tax ID preparer number and review your contract to make sure you know where your refund will go.

One of the biggest scams is where someone takes your personal information and beats you to the IRS.

“If they file a tax return in your name before you do, the IRS will process it and they’ll send the check out. When you go to submit yours, they’ll call it a duplicate,” said Smitherman.

Consumer experts say that’s all the more reason to file early and keep a close eye on your personal information.

A number of agencies are offering free tax help for people this tax season. United Way offers free tax help to file along with Impact America. To learn more, you can click here.

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