Financial professional, Cathy DeWitt Dunn, joins hosts Laila Muhammad and Oliver Tull on Eye Opener TV discussing last minute tax filing, the IRS, and tax scams.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn warns viewers that tax preparers are being scammed by crooks. Thieves are calling tax preparers while pretending to be a client and changing banking information for the clients so as to reroute tax refunds into accounts set up by the thieves.
More scams to be on the lookout for are last-minute email scams, e-services scams, tax-themed phishing and malware scams, illegitimately mailed out tax bills, and tax related phone calls asking for personal data. Scammers are pulling out all the stops and using email, postal mail, phone, the internet and even social media to pull off their scams to fatten their wallets at tax-payers’ expense.
The bottom line in all things tax related is to use caution. There are many things you should be doing to protect yourself from scammers.
Laila Muhammad: Let’s talk about tax filing season. It’s winding down but scams are at their peak. The IRS is warning taxpayers of a last minute email scam.
Oliver Tull: That’s right. People are being scammed out of thousands of dollars. Joining us from Dewitt & Dunn is tax expert Cathy Dewitt. Hello, Cathy.
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: Hi, good morning.
Oliver Tull: It’s good to have you here with us. What kind of last minute scams are you hearing about?
Cathy DeWitt Dunn: Oh, my gosh, especially with April 18th right around the corner, tax preparers are being scammed. They’re getting emails and they’re thinking it’s their client and asking for last minute change of bank accounts for routing and automatic deposits on their refunds. And also, you know, people that are paying their taxes, they’re getting scams. It looks like it’s a bank or credit card company and asking them to change all of their information at the last minute to insure their refunds. It’s scary.
Laila Muhammad: That is scary. So, I guess, what can people look out for? What are those signs that are big red flags?
Cathy: Well, I think, usually, if you look at something, you go, “Oh, everybody wants a refund,” right? So just don’t click on any links or attachments, that’s number one. Because it’s usually malware or software that’s trying to invade your computers and things like that. And I think the one thing for me is click on the email address that you see coming through. Verify that you have actually communicated with that email address. That will really help you and save you thousands of dollars.
Oliver: Well, what can you do if you think this is…maybe you’ve already done something you’re not supposed to, what can you do now after the fact to try to remedy the situation?
Cathy: Change all your passwords. I know everybody loves to have one password because it makes it really easy, but just think about it. If they happen to get your information, there goes all your bank accounts, your credit cards, and things. Change that. And if you think that you’ve been at risk for this, you know, you can contact the IRS. Also call the credit bureaus, freeze your accounts, and things of that nature.
Laila: And I also saw on there protect your numbers as well. I know a lot of folks like to keep their passwords and stuff sort of stored in their phones. I’m afraid to do that. I don’t know why. I’m kinda old school but…
Cathy: I am, too. I just don’t feel comfortable, especially, you know, in this day and age.
Oliver: Well, it’s as you said. You don’t want to lose one thing and lose everything just because of that. Because, you know, any time you have one password, or you keep that password on your phone, if somebody steals your phone, now they’ve got that as well. So you don’t want to give all that information away.
Cathy: You know, and I think, one of the things, too, is when you see the word refund or if money is coming your way, you want to jump right on that, right? And you want to go, “Oh, that’s awesome news.” But you got to make sure with the links and, you know, just don’t download anything suspicious. And if you think that you’ve been scammed, you’ve been a victim of scam, call the IRS. They’ll help you out.
Laila: Okay. Any last minute advice where folks can go if they want to learn more information with you?
Cathy: Yes, actually, you can go to my website at womenmoneyandpower.com. I have a link and all great information on how you could avoid being scammed at this time of the year.
Oliver: Well, I got an email from a Nigerian prince who says I’m owed $1.5 million.
Laila: Well, let me know if you get that money.
Cathy: Can I get in on that?
Laila: Let me know. All right, Cathy DeWitt, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
Cathy: Thank you.
More insight from Cathy DeWitt Dunn on taxes:
Tax Refund Tips
Tax-Related Identity Theft
Cathy DeWitt Dunn on Fox 4 Good Day Dallas Discussing Taxes