taxes

Beware these 'dirty dozen' tax scams that can cost you big and even land you in jail

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Phone scams
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Phone scams | Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Phone scams

Telephone tax scams have been around for ages, and they remain a major threat during the 2017 filing season. More than 10,000 victims have collectively paid over $54 million as a result of these scams since October 2013.

Tax phone scams include many variations, but all try to steal taxpayers' money or identity.

Some scammers tell folks who take the calls that they are entitled to huge refunds; all they need to do is provide some personal information. Other con artists use fear, threatening taxpayers with revocation of their driver's license or even arrest or deportation if their tax situations aren't cleared up immediately.

Scammers claiming to be IRS officials demand that a bogus tax bill be paid via a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or a gift card such as an iTunes card.

Hang up and don't engage with the IRS impersonator.

The IRS will first mail a bill to anyone who owes taxes. The agency doesn't threaten anyone with arrest. And it will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484 toll-free, or report the IRS impersonation scam online.

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