As the summer winds down and back-to-school season kicks into full swing, the new target for scammers is students and their parents. A caller demands that you immediately pay an unpaid tax bill. When you ask questions or refuse, the caller turns hostile and threatens that the police are on their way to arrest you.
A warning this week from the Internal Revenue Service describes a new variant on an old scam. The typical one goes like this: an impersonator calls and claims to be from the IRS. Then says you owe back taxes and must immediately pay over the phone or the police will come arrest you.
Many Orange County taxpayers may be anticipating a refund from the IRS this spring. Californians use their refunds for any number of things, including home improvement, paying down debts or making the big purchase they have had their eyes on for a while. Unfortunately, scam artists also look forward to tax season because they hope to defraud honest people out of their hard-earned tax refund.
The deadline to file taxes is now less than two months away. This may be a source of anxiety and hand-wringing for some Orange County residents, who dislike gathering the necessary documentation and worry about the possibility of an audit. Others may look forward to filing their returns because they eagerly expect a plump refund check. The IRS, however, has issued a cautionary message to people in both groups.
Many Orange County taxpayers facing tax fraud accusations did not intentionally defraud the IRS. The most common way that Californians get into tax disputes is by taking the advice of a tax preparer who was either under qualified or intent on filing a false return in order to maximize his or her own profits. The unfortunate impact of this behavior is that the taxpayer is left solely responsible for the misdeeds of a predatory tax preparer.