Avoid scams this tax deadline day

Deadline today for taxes

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Scams happen every day, but your odds of being targeted are particularly high Monday, because of the tax deadline.

IRS spokesperson Luis Garcia says most scam artists frequently pretend to be from the IRS, a tax company or a state revenue department.  The most common way to scam is by phone and email.

On the phone, these scam artists will use any tactics to take money from you.   Threats, intimidation and even bullying have all been reported.  The scary thing is, it works.

The IRS reports there's also been a surge in email scams this year.  It's called phishing, and the people trying to scam you often claim to be from tax agencies or software companies. One common trick by criminals is to impersonate a business, like your financial institution, tax software provider or the IRS, asking you to update your account and providing a link.

Small businesses especially need to be on the look out, these schemes will usually ask for payroll and human resource information for employees.  If you open an email and it's too late, the most important thing is to never click on anything once you're in the email and contact your organization immediately.

IRS Spokesperson Luis D. Garcia says "As the April 18th tax deadline approaches, these criminals may attempt to trick unsuspecting taxpayers over the phone or via email, so people should remain vigilant. After the tax deadline, watch out for schemes promising a refund or threatening you with an unexpected tax bill."

The IRS says these are the things they will never do:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you experience any of the above situations and the caller claims to be from the IRS, call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.  If they claim to be from a different organization, contact that organization or report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) by email or phone.

No matter what, the IRS warns not to give any personal or financial information out over the phone or email.

If you haven't filed your taxes by Monday at midnight, ask for a six-month extension.  The IRS says millions ask for that six-month extension. If you're in that category, here's what they say to do:

Request an automatic tax-filing extension from Form 4868.  You can get this on the IRS website or through Free File. Anyone, regardless of income, can use that free service.  But remember, the six month extension is to file only.  Payment is still due Monday.  If you don't have it, you'll owe a late filing penalty and be charged five percent a month, depending on your unpaid balance.

Last year, 13 million extensions were requested.  If you request an extension, your filed returns are due October 17.  For more information and step-by-step help visit the IRS website, irs.gov.

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