MILWAUKEE -- It’s National Tax Security Awareness Week! The Better Business Bureau has some suggestions for consumers and business owners for keeping their tax information secure and avoiding tax-related scams.
In 2017, BBB processed approximately 2,400 complaints against tax return preparation services and related businesses (including accountants preparing tax returns). For those complaints, the median disputed amount for which consumers sought BBB’s help was $500.
Tax-related scams are even more prevalent. In 2017, BBB received approximately 3,500 reports to BBB Scam Tracker from consumers regarding con artists claiming to be with the IRS. This comprised nearly 7% of all Scam Tracker reports received in 2017. The scams tend to rely on tactics such as intimidation (such as threats of arrest), isolation (to keep victims from talking to their family members about the supposed tax issue), and/or pressure to act quickly. Tax collection scams often employ all three to bully their targets into compliance.
BBB has been cooperating with the IRS by providing the agency with phone numbers reported from consumers to BBB Scam Tracker. Any law enforcement agency can request additional information from Scam Tracker and we are always willing to work with them to help stop this fraud.
Here are some ways consumers and business owners can combat tax fraud:
File a complaint against a business at BBB.org/Complain
File a scam report about a fraud (even if you lost no money) at BBB.org/ScamTracker
Learn more about avoiding scams at BBB.org/AvoidScams