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 fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 5:20pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.