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Attorney General warns of tax scams

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Attorney General Ashley Moody

Attorney General Ashley Moody

As Tax Day approaches, Attorney General Ashley Moody is launching the 2024 Tax Season Scam Series to help Floridians, including the state’s lawyers, avoid falling prey to fraudulent schemes.

In 2022, Internal Revenue Service data revealed that consumers lost $5.7 billion to tax scams and fraud. As part of the series this tax season, Attorney General Moody will be issuing warnings about pre-filing scams, tax debt relief scams, and direct deposit refund scams.

“Scammers may look to exploit the stress many may feel when preparing their taxes to steal personal and financial information,” Moody said. “It is crucial to stay on guard against potential schemes — so I am releasing this series to help Floridians avoid falling prey to fraudsters.”

One of the best ways to prevent getting caught in a scam during tax season is to file early to prevent fraudsters from stealing tax refunds. Between 2021 and 2022, the amount of fraudulent tax refunds identified by the IRS increased from about $16 million to more than $800 million, commonly occurring through pre-filing schemes.

In pre-filing tax schemes, the AG’s office says scammers target taxpayers by first acquiring a victim’s name and SSN. Schemers then file returns in the target’s name to collect refunds. When taxpayers wait to file returns, it allows scammers more time to exploit potential victims.

Throughout the 2024 Tax Season Scam Series, Attorney General Moody will also highlight the following schemes:

Tax Debt Relief Scams: Scammers may claim to be a representative of a company offering to settle tax obligations for pennies on the dollar. The schemers request upfront payments, and then disappear.

Direct Deposit Refund Scams: Scammers may call, text or email potential victims posing as IRS agents claiming a mistake was made with the person’s tax return. The fraudsters then demand that the victim must refund the money immediately, usually in the form of a wire transfer or gift cards.

Report tax scams or other fraud to the Federal Trade Commission

The IRS has online tools to help track tax refunds. You can use the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ webtool or download the IRS2Go mobile app to check the status of a refund.

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