Click and Hack: Avoid tax scams this season
As we enter the final stretch of tax season, we thought it might be wise to warn taxpayers of some of the more common risks and scams. Below are some tips to have a scam-free tax season.n If filing online, be sure you are using one of the better-known, legitimate sites to minimize errors and avoid scams. Be suspicious of online offers to file your taxes for free or promises that you wont pay any income tax. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Stick with the better known sites. We reviewed several good sites in our February column on the subject at http://www.friscocomputerstore.com. TaxACT is a good choice for those on a budget with straightforward returns. H&R Blocks TaxCut also remains a popular choice for those with simple returns. PCWorld.com rated TurboTax as the best overall experience with its comprehensive tax help. CompleteTax is also well rated. For more information, consult PC World at http://www.pcworld.com.n Dont get duped by bogus sites. Although youll find IRS-like sites at irs.com, irs.net, irs.info, etc., the only true IRS site is http://www.irs.gov. The others may contain good information, but they are not sponsored in any way by the IRS (and many clearly disclose this fact).Double check before entering personal information. It is especially important to be sure youre on the IRSs official site when checking on the status of your refund or other details related to your taxes, particularly when entering any form of personal information. To determine the status of your refund, visit the IRSs link at ]irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp. Or start at the home page at http://www.irs.gov and click on the Wheres My Refund button.n Beware of phishing schemes. These schemes involve e-mails that appear as though they are coming from the IRS. Usually the e-mails claim that you are due a refund; others may claim you are under audit. In either case, the e-mail contains links to sites that resemble the official IRS site, and generally ask you to enter personal information that is used to steal your identity. Never click on these links. Always start at the genuine site, and remember that the IRS does not send e-mail to taxpayers. All correspondence is conducted via snail mail, and sometimes phone. If you receive one of these e-mails, forward it to email@example.com. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the suspicious emails to trace the source.n Scams can occur over the phone. Scammers also phish using the phone. They call taxpayers and pose as IRS agents, claimingVisit Click and Hack at our website at friscocomputerstore.com. Be sure to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.