Beware of 'IRS' scams

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Tax season is winding down, but scam artists are still hard at work.

Some of the biggest scams, according to the IRS, include phishing e-mails from scam artists pretending to be from the agency.

"This week we're very busy processing returns, trying to get refunds quickly," says IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman. "We're not doing outreach. Make sure that if you're giving sensitive information to anyone that it is the person they claim to be. We're not sending e-mails out to people," he says.

In fact, the IRS never sends e-mails. If there is information that's needed, you'll be contacted by mail at first and then by phone if necessary.

Next year the IRS is going to be regulating tax preparers. Right now tax prep fraud is a big problem. But make sure you recognize the signs of a questionable tax preparer.

Here are some red flags: first, if the tax preparer claims they can get you an unusually large refund, compared to what other tax preparers are offering.

If the preparer's fee is based on a percentage of the refund, that is a red flag.

Or, if you're asked to sign a blank form -- beware. Reputable preparers will ask for receipts and will ask questions to determine what deductions are appropriate.

And don't believe outlandish arguments that it's voluntary to file your taxes. Or myths that if you don't file your taxes, the government will do it for you.

These falsehoods have been around for a while and it won't let you get out of filing your taxes -- or paying Uncle Sam.

If you suspect any kind of fraud, call 800-829-1040 or visit the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov.

Talkback: Are you expecting a tax refund? To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.94%3.91%
15 yr fixed3.05%3.07%
5/1 ARM3.05%3.14%
30 yr refi3.94%3.97%
15 yr refi3.10%3.12%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,162.99 121.45 0.67%
Nasdaq 5,106.59 73.84 1.47%
S&P 500 2,123.48 19.28 0.92%
Treasuries 2.14 -0.00 -0.09%
Data as of 6:33pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.74 0.24 1.45%
Michael Kors Holding... 45.93 -14.66 -24.20%
Broadcom Corp 57.16 10.24 21.81%
Apple Inc 132.04 2.42 1.87%
AbbVie Inc 67.38 1.28 1.94%
Data as of 4:04pm ET

Sections

Walmart settled with comedian Tracy Morgan over a crash that left him seriously injured. A Walmart truck rear-ended a limo bus Morgan was riding in on the New Jersey Turnpike nearly a year ago. More

Workers with college and graduate school degrees saw their wages fall the most last year. The least educated saw a slight bump in pay. More

Apple's new "CarPlay" system, which allows drivers to use iPhones behind the wheel, is raising concerns among auto safety experts. More

Hong Kong's week-long Bun Festival means booming business for local bakery Kwok Kam Kee, which has produced the holiday's delicious highlight for decades. More

Apple's new "CarPlay" system, which allows drivers to use iPhones behind the wheel, is raising concerns among auto safety experts. More