'Free money' from inflated refunds
The old saying "There's no such thing as a free lunch" has an equally true tax adage cousin: "There's no such thing as free money."
But tax con artists who claim they can get filers free money from the IRS based on fictitious Social Security benefits or false tax credit claims find enough gullible victims to keep this egregious tax scam on the dirty dozen list.
The IRS says con artists specializing in these schemes tend to target low-income individuals and the elderly. The scam typically appears as fliers advertising free money from the IRS. They usually are posted in churches, and then the word spreads by unsuspecting and well-intentioned people who want to share the news with friends and family.
The scam perpetrator gets taxpayer hopes up, collects money to file the fake claims and then is long gone by the time victims learn their claims are rejected.
"Every filing season, scam artists lure victims in by promising outlandish refunds," says IRS Commissioner Koskinen. "Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund."