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

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