BBB: Keep your information safe during tax season

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Jeremy Johnson, Marketplace Manger at the Better Business Bureau in the Northwest and Pacific regions

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho Just under two months until tax day, the Better Business Bureau is reminding people to avoid common and convincing tax scams.

One such scam involves scammers impersonating an IRS officer and threatening arrest if taxes aren’t paid. Jeremy Johnson told KID NewsRadio the ruse can be very convincing since many scammers provide a fake badge number, case number or other information to make the call seem legitimate. While many people have learned to identify an IRS scam call, Johnson said there are some instances where the IRS really will call to collect debts.

“Starting in about 2017, the IRS hired four debt collection agencies and they are calling people, but the only people they are calling are people that are several years behind in paying and filing taxes,” Johnson said. “So, if you filed your taxes the year before and you have no idea that you’re behind at all and you get one of these calls, it in most absolute most cases is a scam call.”

Choosing the right tax preparer is important too, Johnson said. Simply taking a minute to read reviews of the tax preparer you’re looking at or find out what their Better Business Bureau rating can save a lot of headache down the line.

“Take the time to read a review about that specific accountant or tax preparation service, just to make sure that you feel confident about the person preparing your taxes as well,” Johnson said.

When your refund arrives, Johnson added, it’s important to keep it safe and out of the hands of scammers. Depositing the funds into your savings instead of your checking account and protecting your personal information are both vital to securing your finances.

“Always just being careful about the calls you’re receiving, the emails you’re receiving, asking for personal information,” Johnson said. “Also some of these IRS scams we’ve seen, they’re not just asking for financial information, they’re asking for payments, but the payments are in wire transfers and gift cards, and that should always be a huge red flag.”