IRS warns of scammers even after filing deadline

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COLUMBIA – Tax Day is April 17 this year, and the Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers that scammers are still a cause for concern even after the papers are sent in.

Phone scams have reached second place on the "Dirty Dozen" list the IRS produces each year. The goal of the list is to raise awareness of the 12 biggest scam affecting taxpayers in a given year.

The rate of imposter scams has increased dramatically over the last several years, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network. The 2016 tax season saw a record 406,000 reported scam calls from people trying to take money from taxpayers.

Emails have also become a problem.

"The 'IRS Refunds' scam is a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick people into opening a link or attachment associated with the email," the IRS said in a press release. "This link takes people to a fake page where thieves try to steal personally identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers."

Here are some ways to know if what you're experiencing is a scam, according to the IRS:

  • They demand payment by prepaid debit card, iTunes gift card, or wire transfer
  • They demand payment without giving you the chance to appeal
  • They threaten to contact law-enforcement, revoke your license or immigration status.

Instead, the IRS says to look out for these things to know if they're legitimate:

  • You first receive a letter in the mail describing what taxes you owe
  • A representative will give two forms of official identification
  • You will be instructed to make payments to the United States Treasury

If you have questions or concerns, the IRS is available at irs.gov and if you find yourself the victim of a scam, you can call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

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