As in scams past, the most recent IRS Tax scam circulating brings promises of refunds to individuals of lower income, and most without a tax filing requirement. The fraudulent scheme claims the ability to acquire for their victims, frequently senior citizens, a false stimulus payment or non existent tax refund basing their claims on the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
The perpetrators will claim eligibility of a College Tax Credit even if it has been decades since the victim has attended school. Likewise, low income families, church congregations, and seniors are being lured with deceiving promises of free money. Another variation of the scam finds people being told they can use the college credit as a way to compensate people for paying taxes on groceries.
Currently, the IRS is investigating these bogus claims coming from across the United States. The promoters will likely face criminal prosecution if caught. Thousands of the fraudulent claims have already been detected and stopped by the IRS. However, if not aware, the scam can still carry a hefty cost to victims.
To avoid becoming ensnared in this scheme, the IRS says taxpayers should beware of any of the following:
- Fictitious claims for refunds or rebates based on false statements of entitlement to tax credits.
- Unfamiliar for-profit tax services selling refund and credit schemes to the membership of local churches.
- Internet solicitations that direct individuals to toll-free numbers and then solicit social security numbers.
- Homemade flyers and brochures implying credits or refunds are available without proof of eligibility.
- Offers of free money with no documentation required.
- Promises of refunds for “Low Income – No Documents Tax Returns.”
- Claims for the expired Economic Recovery Credit Program or for economic stimulus payments.
- Unsolicited offers to prepare a return and split the refund.
- Unfamiliar return preparation firms soliciting business from cities outside of the normal business or commuting area.
As always, to verify the legitimacy of any claim visit IRS.gov or call the IRS’s fraud hotline at 1-800-366-4484