I want to begin this blog with a general public service announcement. If back in April you got an extension for filing your taxes, you now have less than two weeks to complete that task. Six months goes by fast when you’re not paying attention, doesn’t it?
That’s about all I want to say on that issue. Yes, we still have some appointments open if you need one to work through this. And we will do all we can under this time crunch to make things work out for you in the best way possible.
Along with this looming deadline, though, comes a renewed thrust by scammers to work some tax schemes. It only makes sense (through their twisted logic), for the more general anxiety that already exists around taxes, the more vulnerable one could be to fall victim to these scams.
This led the IRS to send out a reminder on scam tactics. There does not seem to be any new ones out there right now, but a few things are worthy of reminders. The first is that if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, chances are really good that they are not agency employees. Your first contact from the IRS will almost always be by mail (and probably only would not be if you did not have a correct address on file). Moreover, if anyone claims they are from the IRS and demands immediate payment by some odd source like prepaid debit cards of money wires, then this is DEFINITELY not the IRS.
I want to put a bigger spotlight on email phishing scams, for this is something I have not discussed as much in the past. This probably comes from a personal bias where I find it pretty easy to weed out suspicious-looking emails, and they get quickly deleted, while the phone calls feel like more of an intrusion (and it seems like they’ve grown to where a majority of people have now received some sort of financial scam call). Those emails, though, while less obvious, could also be working under the radar.
Remember this general rule – if you receive an email from an unknown sender that contains attached files or internet links, do not click on them. We are sharing more and more things over the internet and this can be wonderful, but if you don’t know where something came from, chances are it is not good.
By clicking on such things, you open yourself up not only to computer viruses or malware that could make for an immediate problem, but you unwittingly may be putting something on your computer that is working behind the scenes to pull information you do not want exposed. General protection software thankfully does a pretty good job of keeping most of these things at bay, but some extra vigilance could mean they do not have to do as much work.
Finally, this time of year also requires being on the lookup for fake charity scams in the wake of natural disasters. This does not mean do not donate, but a quick Google search can help you vet potential places to send your funds and make sure they are helping where you want them to help.
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To ensure we don't make the folks at the IRS ornery, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.