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IRS reveals ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of tax scams for 2020


(KYMA, KECY) - The Internal Revenue Service announced its annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams on Monday, emphasizing schemes related to coronavirus tax relief, including Economic Impact Payments.

This year, the Dirty Dozen focuses on scams targeting taxpayers.

The list is as followed:

Phishing: Taxpayers should be alert to potential fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS says it will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a tax bill, refund or Economic Impact Payments.

Fake Charities: The IRS says criminals frequently exploit natural disasters and other situations by setting up fake charities to steal from people trying to help in times of need.

Threatening Impersonator Phone Calls:The IRS says a common one is a threatening phone calls from a criminal claiming to be with the IRS. The scammer attempts to instill fear and urgency in the potential victim. The IRS will never threaten a taxpayer or surprise him or her with a demand for immediate payment.

Social Media Scams: Social media enables anyone to share information with anyone else on the Internet. The IRS says scammers use that information as ammunition for a wide variety of scams. These include emails where scammers impersonate someone’s family, friends or co-workers.

EIP or Refund Theft: Although the IRS says it has made great efforts against refund fraud and theft in recent years, it is still an ongoing threat. Criminals have reportedly turned their attention to stealing Economic Impact Payments as provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Senior Fraud: Senior citizens and those who care about them are warned by the IRS to be on alert for tax scams targeting older Americans. The IRS recognizes the pervasiveness of fraud targeting older Americans along with the Department of Justice and FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), among others.

Scams targeting non-English speakers: IRS impersonators and other scammers also target groups with limited English proficiency and the scams are often threatening in nature. Some scams also target those who could be receiving an Economic Impact Payment and request personal or financial information from the taxpayer.

Unscrupulous Return Preparers: The IRS warns that while most tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service, but dishonest preparers pop up every filing season committing fraud, harming innocent taxpayers or talking taxpayers into doing illegal things they regret later.

Offer in Compromise Mills: Taxpayers need to be aware of misleading tax debt resolution companies that can exaggerate chances to settle tax debts for “pennies on the dollar” through an Offer in Compromise (OIC). These offers are available for taxpayers who meet very specific criteria under law to qualify for reducing their tax bill; however, unscrupulous companies oversell the program to unqualified candidates so they can collect a hefty fee from taxpayers already struggling with debt.

Fake Payments with Repayment Demands: The IRS says criminals are always finding new ways to trick taxpayers into believing the criminal's scam including putting a bogus refund into the taxpayer's actual bank account.

Payroll and HR Scams: Tax professionals, employers and taxpayers need to be alert against phishing designed to steal Form W-2s and other tax information. Currently, the IRS says the two of the most common types of these scams are the gift card scam and the direct deposit scam.

Ransomware: This is malware targeting human and technical weaknesses to infect a potential victim's computer, network or server.

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Dominique Newland

Dominique joined KYMA in June 2019 as a Sunrise anchor. She was born in New Jersey but raised in Carmel, Indiana.

You can reach her at


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