💵 The NJ IRS Criminal Investigation Unit says beware of scammers

🚨 They may use a variety of fraudulent techniques

🔎 You should also select your tax preparer carefully

Now that the holiday season is over, tis the season to do your taxes.

With so many people now working on their returns, the New Jersey IRS Criminal Investigation Unit is urging Garden State residents to follow some simple guidelines to avoid being scammed.

Jefferey McDevitt, the assistant special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Newark Field Office, said it’s important to choose your tax preparer wisely.

“You want to look for a preparer who’s available year-round and is just not setting up shop for a couple of weeks. You want to find a preparer you can trust,” he said.

PRImageFactory GettyImages
PRImageFactory GettyImages

Beware of phony tax-related correspondence

He said if you receive any kind of tax-related correspondence you’re not expecting, be careful.

“Don’t respond to these text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware such as viruses that could compromise your personal and financial information," he said.

"The IRS is never going to reach out to you directly through text message and ask for your personal information such as a social security number or any other identifying information.”

Find a tax preparer who has a required IRS preparer tax identification number.

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Your refund goes in your account

Refunds should be deposited into your bank account, not your preparer's or another person's account.

The list of IRS Criminal Investigation Tips to avoid tax season fraud:

🔴 Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.

🔴Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.

🔴 Don’t use a ghost preparer. They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.

🔴 Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. Taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.

🔴 Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.

🔴 Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s.

🔴 The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up.

🔴 Don’t respond to text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.

🔴 Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages about your tax return. These messages are fraudulent.

🔴 Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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