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The IRS Warns all Taxpayers to Beware of Scammers

Every year around this time groups of unscrupulous scammers try their best to steal as many refunds and identities as possible. The IRS puts out a list of what they call the “Dirty Dozen”. The list does change year to year as the scammers become more creative with ways to trick us into giving them what they want.

In general, it is a good idea to be skeptical of anyone who calls you that isn’t from a number you recognize. Some of the common scams that I have personally seen people that I know fall for have been scammers pretending to be family members saying that they are in jail and need bail money, scammers pretending to be the police and claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest, scammers pretending to be from the publisher’s clearing house bringing you a giant winning check, scammers pretending to be from Microsoft wanting to help you with your computer that has been hacked, and scammers pretending to be your one true love.

In most cases, they create an emergency that makes you feel like you need to act immediately and give them either your money or your personal information. Never give your personal information out to anyone that comes asking for it. Now, it is different if you are the one who initiated the conversation. For instance, if you call the IRS, you will need to give them your personal information to verify your identity. I am frequently asked; how I know when it is safe to give someone on the phone my social security number. I feel like the answer lies in who initiates the phone call. If someone calls you and asks for your social security number, that is a scam. If you initiate the phone call, then you will most likely need to give the person on the phone your personal information to verify your identity.

This year there are a few new scams out there to be aware of that are on the IRS Dirty Dozen list. The first new one is the “helpful” IRS worker who wants to help you set up your online account on They will start by trying to convince you that it is too difficult and complex for you to set up your account yourself and that you “need” their help. Of course, to be able to “help” you, they will need various pieces of vital information from you. Essentially, they will use this information to try and steal your tax refund. Once they have stolen your hard-earned refund, it is very difficult for you to get your refund back. I have been successful in helping clients convince the IRS that the refund was indeed stolen, but that case can take years to recover the lost money. The truth is that it is very simple to set up your account. It is very similar to setting up an account online. The biggest difference is that they will text a link to your phone in which you will need to use your camera to take a picture of your driver’s license and then use your camera to take a special selfie of your face to make sure that it matches the picture on the driver’s license. The entire process should take around 15 minutes through a system called ID.ME. If you do need assistance, you can reach out to the IRS or DeMar Consulting Group. If you are the one reaching out to the IRS, that is safe. The IRS will not randomly reach out to you to help you set up your account.

Another new scam is the fuel tax credit scam. The fuel tax credit is not available for most taxpayers. It is for off-highway businesses and farm businesses. Yet, the IRS has seen an increase in regular tax forms using this credit to get inflated tax refunds. As a result, this tax credit is very high on the radar of the IRS and will most likely result in an audit. The scammers walk away with the fee that you paid them, and you get left holding the bag, so to speak. IRS commissioner Danny Werfel has made a comment about this very scam. “Promoters are pushing the accelerator on bad Fuel Tax Credit claims and driving honest taxpayers to a bad choice,” said Werfel. “These promoters frequently charge a large fee to the taxpayer to make these false claims. While the scammers drive away with the fees, the taxpayers are left behind with a bad claim and all the risk and responsibility to make it right. Taxpayers must remain cautious and seek out a reputable tax professional rather than a reckless promoter.”

If you would like to look at the rest of the Dirty Dozen scams for this year and even the last 10 years of Dirty Dozen scams, you can do so at If you believe that you have been scammed or need help with a stolen refund, DeMar Consulting Group can help you
navigate this tricky path.

-Tasha Preisner, Demar Consulting Group Head of Tax Division


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