IRS offers tax season scam warning and free resources for filing returns

Watch out for scammers using phone and email

IRS offers tax season scam warning and f

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - It's a scam that's on the rise, crooks, calling people and posing as IRS agents, and asking for money.

If it's not a phone call, the bad guys use email, saying you owe something while making threats, if you don't forward money.

But, an IRS spokesperson wants you to know this. 

"Normal correspondence with the IRS is a letter in the mail, not a random threatening phone call.  It's not an email in your inbox.  It's a letter in the mail," said IRS spokesperson Raphael Tulino.

If you do receive a letter from the IRS .. the agency's spokesperson, Tulino  says the letter will be quote "very clear", when it comes to what action the IRS is requesting you take.

If you are contacted, by someone claiming to be with the IRS, and if you do have suspicions, Tulino says the best thing to do is contact the IRS to double check. 

And, like all scams, the old adage applies.

"If something sounds like it's too good to be true, it just may be. So, step back and use your antenna," said Tulino. 

Also important to know, if you are looking for someone to prepare your taxes this year, for a fee, check to make sure they have a "PTIN" or a "Preparer Tax Identification Number", to make sure they are qualified, and operating above board.

"No matter who prepares your tax return, you are the one responsible for the information on it once you sign it, so do so wisely," said Tulino. 

Finally, if you are a low or moderate income taxpayer, the IRS offers free software you can use to file.    

Also, for those who earn $55,000 a year or less, there are volunteers here in the valley, who will prepare your returns free of charge.

Click the links to learn more about the free software and volunteer help:

IRS "Free File"

VITA "Volunteer Income Tax Assitance"

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